Friday, October 12, 2012

Apple Cider Cheesecake Shortbread Bars

by Darla

This is my for realsies 350th post. o_O

Can you guys believe that?? I’ve posted almost 350 recipes and/or tutorials on Bakingdom in less than three years time. Yowza.

I really wanted to make something special for this post, and even though it has been delayed because of stupid computers thinking they’re the boss of me (which they pretty much are, but don’t tell them I said that), this recipe, these amazing cheesecake bars, were totally worth the wait. Trust me.

I’ve been completely obsessed with apple cider this Autumn. I always love it, but this year, for inexplicable reasons, I want it all the time. Like, every day I’m throwing back cider like there’s no tomorrow.

I kinda figured I’d make my obsession useful, and what could be more useful and wonderful than apple cider cheesecake? Apple cider cheesecake on top of buttery shortbread with cinnamon apple streusel, that’s what.

Before you go any further, I need you to know how incredibly delicious these bars are. I think it’s important for you to know what you’re getting into, because you need to make these. By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you make these apple cider cheesecake bars!

Go on now. Make them.

The first thing to do for this recipe is the streusel. I like to keep it cold while I prepare the rest of the recipe, because cold streusel holds together better in the oven.

Since we’re making the streusel first, that means you need a peeled, cored, and finely diced apple. I used Fuji, and really prefer it; it lends perfect flavor to the cideriness (what? that’s a word) of the recipe. You want it finely diced, because it’s not going to bake for very long, so in order to cook it through, it needs to be finer.

The streusel is pretty basic, with cinnamon, brown sugar, flour, just a touch of granulated sugar, and butter. Then, you just throw in those teeny, tiny, sweet apple bits and you’re good to go. Cover the whole mixture up, and stick it in the freezer while you get everything else together.

I kept the shortbread for this simple, because I didn’t want it overpowering the filling. The recipe I used is a perfect compliment. It just gets pressed into a lightly oiled 9×13 pan and par baked at 300 degrees for about 12 minutes.

While the shortbread is in the oven, you’ll get the filling ready. It’s super easy; you basically throw everything in the bowl and mix it up real good.

Done.

When the shortbread comes out of the oven, turn the heat up to 400, pour the filling over the shortbread, and evenly sprinkle the streusel on top. Now, it bakes for about 35 minutes, until it’s cheesecaky perfection.

See? Perfection. Apple streusel-y, cider-y cheesecake goodness on top of flaky, buttery shortbread perfection.

Seriously, does it get any better??

I think not.

I need to reiterate to you all how amazing and wonderful these bars are. They are so fresh and Fall-ish tasting, and they’re, by far, one of the very best desserts I’ve made. And I’ve made well over 300 for Bakingdom alone, so that’s no small feat!

Please don’t let the fact that these have three components to them stop you from making them. Each step is incredibly simple, and the end result is so worth the small amount of work. So. Worth it.

The streusel and shortbread dough for this recipe can both be made in advance, and kept refrigerated, then you just need to prepare the filling, assemble, and bake on the day (or the day before) you plan to serve them.

Enjoy!

Apple Cider Cheesecake Shortbread Bars [Printable Version]
with Cinnamon Apple Streusel

Makes 1 9×13 pan

Ingredients

FOR THE STREUSEL
1/2 cup ( 127 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (about 13 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (half a stick or 56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 apple (I used Fuji), peeled, cored, and finely chopped

FOR THE SHORTBREAD
1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (94 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups (286 grams) flour

FOR THE FILLING
12 ounces (339 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup (125 ml) apple cider
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

To make the streusel: In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Mix the cold butter into the mixture by hand, squeezing the pieces in to mix it. Stir the apple pieces into the streusel until evenly distributed.

Cover and freeze while you prepare the shortbread and filling.

To make the shortbread: Preheat oven to 300 (150 C) degrees. Lightly coat a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the salt and flour and continue beating until everything is fully incorporated and the mixture resembles wet sand with large clumps.

Using your hands, press all of the crumbs together in the bowl until it all forms a cohesive dough.

Press evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Prepare the filling while the shortbread bakes.

To make the filling: In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, and stir until combined. Scrape the bowl between each egg. Stir in the apple cider until thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla.

Assemble: Increase oven temperature to 400 (200 C) degrees.

Pour the cheesecake filling over the pre-baked shortbread. Sprinkle the cold streusel over the top. The streusel will sink into the filling a bit, this is okay.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges just turn golden brown, and the center no longer jiggles. Allow to cool completely before serving. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.

Recipe by Darla

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers October 12, 2012 at 6:12 am

Do want. Please?

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2 Cookbook Queen October 12, 2012 at 6:20 am

Seriously?? This is completely amazing. I am totally making this weekend!!

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3 Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie October 12, 2012 at 6:50 am

All I can say is YUM!

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4 Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel October 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

I may or may not have licked my screen (it’s irrelevant now) but I most certainly would like five of these.

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5 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

Love this bar! What a treat!

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6 Marta October 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

This is everything I like about fall in one treat… with cheesecake. So much win!

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7 Rosa October 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

May I ask what kind of drink was in the background? Is that your homemade cider?

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8 elisa October 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm

this will be made this weekend after apples and cider picking !!

thx!

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9 Cathy October 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm

These do look amazing, thank you! I’m also glad you have your website’s name on the pictures, because pinterest has had problems with people clicking on things and being taken to a different website. I’ve reported this, and continue to do so, but having your website’s name in the picture helps to show that it belongs to someone else.

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10 Jill October 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Wow. These look absolutely spectacular!! Can’t wait to make them.

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11 Julie @ Table for Two October 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm

You have gorgeous photos, Darla!! I love the flavor combinations in this cheesecake bar – especially the streusel topping!! I’m such a sucker for them. Congrats on your 350th post!! xoxo

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12 irmina October 13, 2012 at 4:26 am

Delicioso….

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13 Jocelyn @BruCrew Life October 13, 2012 at 7:54 am

I am in serious awe every time I pop into your blog…what I would give for a day at your house to learn some awesome photog skills from you:-) Ok, these bars are in.cred.ible!!!!! I love that you added chopped up apple bits to your streusel. That is genius! I am totally making these!!!

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14 Ina October 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

First. Congratulations 350! That is a lot. I love this recipe. Need to try this soon. Going to make this for the girls when they come over. I am in heaven.

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15 Cecily October 13, 2012 at 10:51 am

Those look great. Beacuse you are in Oregon you can get the best cold pressed cider in the world. It comes from Daum’s Family Family Farm (I don’t work there, I just drink it), in Salem. It is so good.

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16 elisa October 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

These are going to be made this weekend after apple and apple cider picking!!

thx for sharing as always.

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17 Lisa {Sweet 2 Eat Baking} October 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Holy moly, these look soooooo good and loving the apple cider flavour combo too.

Happy 350th post. Have a great weekend.

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18 Becs @ Lay the table October 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm

WOW! These look so tasty – am a sucker for anything cheesecake or apple so when the two combine it’s extra amazing.

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19 Tammy October 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm

OMG! I just made these and after tasting them
I am sooooo glad I made a double batch! YUMMY!!!! Fabulous as usual!

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20 Molly October 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

These look and sound wonderful! I can’t wait to try them! And Darla, when I was pregnant with my 2nd child I craved apple juice like there was no tomorrow. Jus’ sayin…

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21 Maria @ Cheeky Pink Tulip October 15, 2012 at 1:36 am

Oh my dear lord, they look DIVINE! Welcome back, computer. Don’t die again. Please.
Maria xx
http://www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

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22 Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more October 15, 2012 at 9:20 am

oh my word, now I am going to be thinking about this all day, yummy!

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23 Anja Bagus October 20, 2012 at 8:24 am

Thank you! I am from Germany and I love your site. And cheesecake. Its in the oven now, I can’t wait to tast it.

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