You know...how there are people who make fun of those people who go to McDonald's, totally supersize everything and then order a diet Coke?
Like, really insist on it being diet?
Like, check in with the soda attendant (yes, I've just made up an entire profession. Apparently I can create jobs faster than the presidential candidates. FTW!) at least five times to make sure it's actually diet?
I am one of those people. Errrr...both of those people.
Minus the McDonalds/diet Coke part because, well, I'm also one of those people who gags audibly whenever I walk by such an establishment. The same way I fake cough uncontrollably whenever I walk by anyone who is smoking. And say "Excuse You" in a very loud, annoyed voice to anyone who I think is in my way/walking too slowly/doing anything that I find offensive. I'm really a pleasure to cohabit the sidewalk with. Truly.
Anyways. My point is that I strolled up to the cash register at Whole Foods last week with five pounds of butter, brown sugar, regular sugar, local fresh ricotta (swoon), gruyere, mozzarella and....reduced fat cream cheese.
One of these things is not like the other, I'll tell you that much.
But here's the thing guys. These bars have apples in them. They totally aspire to be health food! They're not very good at it...but an E for Effort, right? So it's the least we can do to encourage them with some reduced fat cream cheese.
Really, I'm just doing my part. For the greater good. And so that we can all feel a little less guilty when we keep cutting off "just one tiny square" to have for breakfast. Because I promise...once you have your first bite....that's what you'll be doing. Every twenty minutes. I swear it.
PEOPLE! I officially have LESS than $200 to raise for The Leukemia Lymphoma Society so that I can run the New York City Marathon in less than three weeks (yikes!) and it's all thanks to YOU. For those who don't know, I'm running in honor of my dad this year as he passed away from cancer this past month. If you feel so inclined to donate, here is the link to my page. And remember, every donation counts no matter how small so even if you only have a few dollars to give, it's SO worth it and will be greatly appreciated!
Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Makes 1 8x8-inch pan, adapted from Closet Cooking
For the crust
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
For the cheesecake
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the apple filling
- 2 granny smith apples, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
For the streusel topping
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
For the caramel sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- For the crust, cut the butter into the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon until combined and crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8x8-inch pan that has been lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 until lightly golden brown, 8-12 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
- For the cheesecake, beat the sugar into the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the baking dish over the crust.
- For the apple filling, mix the apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Sprinkle on top of the cheesecake in an even layer.
- For the streusel topping, cut the butter into the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined and crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the apples. Bake at 350 until the cheesecake is set, about 25-35 minutes. let cool.
- For the caramel sauce, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer until the sugar turns a medium amber, swirling the pan every 30 seconds or so. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Return to the heat and cook until smooth, stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Let cool for a few minutes before mixing in the vanilla and salt. Let cool and serve over the apple cheesecake bars.