Apple Butter Cheesecake Streusel Bars
These soft and chewy cheesecake bars are topped with apple butter and a sweet pecan streusel. Easy to make and a fantastic way to mix up your usual holiday cookie tray.
Apple butter takes me back to my childhood….not really in a super, fantastic, epic kind of way. More in a… I had it in a sandwich once and took one bite. One. Bite. I starved for the remainder of the day….well, that’s how I remembered it in my child-sized mind. For the record, my mom didn’t make me this sandwich. It was a friend’s mom. I think she thought I was a brat because it was a stand-off of sorts, I wasn’t allowed to leave the table to go play until I finished my sandwich. I sat at that table for what seemed like hours. HOURS I tell you! I couldn’t wait to go home….I wanted my mommy….the “play date” was over.
For some of you, apple butter may be an acquired taste. I don’t know what happened to me but it’s like the mashed potato phenomenon of my life. Something that made me want to gag as a child I could stuff my face with by the shovelful now. I wouldn’t necessarily shovel apple butter into my mouth but I do take a bite every now and then with a spoon. Now, mashed potatoes…..hand me a shovel…stat. This apple butter thing….it’s so tasty when paired with other things. Like cheesecake….and butter. And cookies. And pork….but that’s for another day. Or today….if you really want to braise some pork in a little apple heaven.…make these tacos.
I hiked to Lancaster, PA the other weekend to unload these bars on my sister. She’s a nightshift nurse so she and her coworkers…they need the fuel. I had to get them out of the house….they are THAT.GOOD. And knowing I would be a baking machine for the next few weeks I had to leave room for the other calories that were going to find their way to my already puffy thighs and butt.
When I told my mom what they were she said…”I don’t really like apple butter.” Ha! I knew it! She gets me. 🙂 I convinced her that this would be different….she really needed to try the Apple Butter Cheesecake Streusel Bars. They’re creamy and cinnamonny and sweet and buttery. The apple butter blends just so slightly into the cheesecake layer creating this perfect mix of flavors. You will take a bite and swoon. I kid you not. Then you’ll realize you at the whole pan. You need a nightshift nurse in your life.
Get the Recipe: Apple Butter Cheesecake Streusel Bars
- For the crust:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, I used King Arthur Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cheesecake layer:
- 1 8- ounce package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the streusel topping:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2 cups apple butter, I used Musselman's
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and flour until crumbly and combined thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to an ungreased 13×9 inch baking dish and pat the crust firmly and evenly into the dish using your hands. Bake for 15 minutes, remove and allow to cool completely.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth on medium speed. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until combined. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, using a pastry blender, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, butter, pecans and salt until the mixture comes together and forms coarse crumbs. Using your hands or a fork, toss until the ingredients are combined and set aside.
- Once the crust has cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top of the crust leaving a 1/4 inch edge all the way around. Spread a thin layer of apple butter over the cream cheese and then sprinkle the streusel topping over the entire top. Bake for 40 minutes, remove and cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it set overnight before cutting into squares.
- Store in an airtight container.