Caramel apples atop a layer of Greek yogurt cheesecake, with loads of brown sugar crumble topping and a caramelized oat crust. These gluten-free Caramel Apple Crumble Cheesecake Bars are the perfect treat to bring to your next holiday gathering.
These bars. Oh my. Where do I even start?
How about with the cheesecake (my personal favorite part). The cheesecake is a half cream cheese-half Greek yogurt cheesecake. Have you tried Greek yogurt cheesecake yet? If not, then you must. It’s lighter than traditional cheesecake, and so creamy.
I went with a 1:1 ratio of yogurt to cream cheese here to make sure the cheesecake could stand up to all of that crumble topping. I love 100% Greek yogurt cheesecake, but the lightness would have been overwhelmed here. In my recipe testing, I tried making these bars with all cream cheese and I didn’t like them nearly as well. Gotta go with the Greek yogurt!
Did I mention the cheesecake is also a brown sugar cheesecake? Oh yes it is.
How about you? Do you go crazy for a good crumble topping? These Caramel Apple Crumble Cheesecake Bars have loads of crumble. I used the same crumble mixture to make both the bottom crust and the topping. It’s a brown sugar crumble. (I incorporated brown sugar into every part of these bars!) In the oven, the brown sugar and butter melt together and the crust gets all caramelized and wonderful. This does make it a little difficult when it comes time to cut the bars, but the taste more than makes up for that.
The crust and crumble are made entirely with oats and oat flour, making these Caramel Apple Crumble Cheesecake Bars gluten-free! That’s not to say they are healthy, but they are full of whole grains. 🙂
The final part of these bars is the caramel apples. Sweet-tart apples, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg… combine these in a saucepan and cook gently until the apples are coated in sweet caramel goodness.
It’s been a while since I’ve made an over-the-top amazing dessert, and these Caramel Apple Crumble Cheesecake Bars were definitely worth the wait.
- 2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats, divided
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 lbs. (about 6 medium) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the width of the pan and line the pan with the parchment, letting it overhang on two opposite sides. Spray the parchment with cooking spray.
- In a food processor, process 1 ½ cups of the oats until finely ground. Add in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and process until combined. Add in the butter pieces and pulse 8 times, until the largest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. Add in the remaining 1 cup oats and process in 5 quick pulses.
- Press half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 18 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool slightly. The crust should be light golden brown, and will be soft and not set when you remove it from the oven. It will set up as it cools. Maintain oven temperature at 350 degrees.
- While the crust bakes and cools, make the caramel apples. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until apples are soft. Remove from heat.
- Wipe out any crumble crumbs off of the blade and bowl of the food processor. Combine all cheesecake ingredients in the bowl of the food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour the cheesecake on top of the crust in the baking dish. Scoop the apples on top of the cheesecake in an even layer. Crumble the remaining crust/crumble mixture over the top of the apples. Bake at 350 degrees until the crumble is golden and cheesecake is set, 40-45 minutes. Cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving. (The bars taste even better on the second and third day, if you have time to chill them overnight.)