Chai Apple Cheesecake Bars

Fall is all about layering. Whether you are making a casserole or dressing for the weather, autumn brings many opportunities to try a little of this and a little of that. So why should dessert be any different? These bring all manner of delicious together in about an hour.

Like shortbread cookies? That's basically the crust layer. Creamy cheesecake makes you swoon? The filling is just for you! And the crumble topping includes the flavors of chai and apple crisp! I used MacIntosh apple in this recipe - unpeeled to give it a little extra color - but you can use any good baking apple to bring fall's favorite fruit to the mix.

These bars are so delightful, I'd be happy to serve them as dessert for Thanksgiving. Move over, pumpkin pie, you've got some serious competition this year!

Chai Apple Cheesecake Bars

For the Crust:
  • ¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ c. powdered sugar
  • 6 T. butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
For the Filling:
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T. sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ c. powdered sugar
For the Topping:
  • ¼ c. fresh apple, cut into cubes
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ c. oatmeal - not instant
  • 3 T. butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ⅛ tsp. ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp. ground allspice

Preheat the oven to 350° F and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Spray an 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

To make the crust, add all of the ingredients for the crust to a food processor. Pulse a few times until the butter is in pea sized pieces, and the dough starts to lump together. The dough will be crumbly.

Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Prepare the filling and topping (instructions below) while the crust bakes. Remove from the oven allow to cool while finalizing the assembly of the filling and topping.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.

In a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and sour cream. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Continue to beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Sprinkle in the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar has been incorporated and the filling is smooth; set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients for the topping. Mix with a fork, to break up and incorporate the butter. The topping will be crumbly.

To assemble, pour the filling on top of the pre-cooked shortbread crust. Then, evenly sprinkle the topping on top of the cheesecake filling.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, but still has a little cheesecake residue on it. Cool the bars in the pan to room temperature. Then chill the bars in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

  • Yields: 9 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

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