Sunday, October 30, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Fall delicioiusness on a plate is what this is.
An original Paula Dean recipe, it's worth the effort.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Streusel topping, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with foil.
Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.
Bake 15 minutes until crust is lightly browned.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 c. sugar in an electric mixer.
Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Pour over the warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.

Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping.

Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.
Yield: approximately 3 cups

My favorite caramel recipe:
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 1/2 c. cream
4 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until it boils. Continue cooking until it reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Store in a canning jar in the refrigerator and re-heat to soften.

A Kid Favorite: Ravioli Lasagna

I came up with this dish on a whim and my kids are crazy about it. It's SO easy! I made a couple of pans and froze them. I stock up on aluminum tins at the Dollar Store and use them for freezing my extra meals.

1 jar tomato sauce.
A quick tip: Liven up jarred sauce by sauteing some olive oil and garlic in a saucepan. Add oregano and basil to the pan until fragrant, then add the sauce and simmer. Ummmm... hello garlic! Can you tell I love it??
Cook the ravioli as directed. Place a cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, then arrange a single layer of ravioli over it. Top with a layer of shredded cheese. Repeat the layers of tomato sauce, ravioli, and cheddar cheese. I like to use a couple of different kinds of ravioli.
For the top layer, spread a layer of pesto sauce and top with parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.. Remove the foil and let the cheese brown on top. Serve and watch it disappear!
1-2 jars tomato sauce - -depending on how saucy your family likes it
2 packages ravioli
1/2 block cheddar cheese (or around 3 cups)
1 jar pesto
3/4 c. parmesan cheese