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Say that five times fast…I can’t.

Alas, I have come to terms with the fact that it is now fall. Summer is over. Gone. Dunzo. School finally started and the air feels more fall-ish. What better way to ring in the season than by baking with apples? Oh wait, I know a better way. Buying new boots. But we’re not talking about my new boots right now.

My roommate had a bunch of apples and requested an apple dessert. I was more than happy to oblige. I went on a hunt for the perfect apple recipe. As is often the case with me, I didn’t know what I wanted, but at the same time I knew exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want a pie or a turnover. No apple sauce. No muffins or bread or cake either. What is left after all of that, you ask? Well, I have the answer. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Streusel Bars. Oh yes. I said it. Four layers of goodness. One perfect fall bar. People were skeptical at first. I could hardly say the whole name without stuttering, could I really make these, and would they be edible? Silly doubters. Speech impediment aside, I had a really good feeling about these, and I knew they would be all that and a bag of chips. Chips…I just had a thought. I have some apples left. Apple chips coming soon!

Without further ado, I bring you…

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Streusel Bars

Crust:

2 C. flour

1/2 C. packed brown sugar

1/2 C. (2 sticks) softened butter

Combine ingredients in a bowl with a pastry blender (or forks, but for once, I am properly equipped and own a pastry blender) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into the bottom of a 9×13 pan, lined with foil and greased, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Just use your hands to do this…and maybe lick your fingers after if no one is looking.

Cheesecake Layer:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 C. sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time (not sure why, to be honest, but just do it) and vanilla. Pour over warm crust.

Apple Layer:

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. sugar

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until apple chunks are evenly coated, then spoon over cheesecake layer.

Streusel Topping:

1 C. packed brown sugar

1 C flour

1/2 C. quick cooking oats

1/2 C. (1 stick) softened butter

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, kind of like how you did the crust. Be sure to retain a lot of larger buttery chunks. You don’t want a solid dough or something powdery. Sprinkle over the apples.

Now things might get a tad tricky. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until filling is set. The problem is, since you have apples and streudel covering the cheesecake, it’s almost impossible to know if it is set. I baked mine for exactly 30, but should have done 35. They’re a little gooier than I was expecting. I like a firmer cheesecake. So when in doubt, give it a couple more minutes.

When it’s all done, drizzle at your discretion with caramel topping. Store bought is just fine.

Grab a bar, curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket, and say goodbye to summer 😥 hello to fall : )

Recipe compliments of Paula Deen via FoodNetwork.com.

And here’s your song, since I’ve been in a sweet disposition myself lately.

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