This easy recipe for apple crumble cheesecake bars with salted caramel sauce and walnuts is a great fall dessert alternative to apple pies, apple crisps and other apple desserts that we ate a hundred times! Made with a crumbly delicious walnut shortcrust, cheesecake filling, apples, cinnamon, and salted caramel sauce. Is that not a match made in heaven?
How to make apple crumble cheesecake bars
These apple crumble cheesecake bars are easy to make and they have a special ingredient which makes them even more special – walnuts! They are mixed in the dough and give another flavor dimension.
The dough is used on the bottom as a base and on top as a streusel. It’s very light, buttery and crumbly.
Side note, I love walnuts in desserts as you can see by the number of recipes that have walnuts in them on my site:
- Walnut Meringue Cookies
- Healthy Granola
- Chocolate and Walnut Cookies
- Banana Bread
- Flourless and Fudgy Chocolate Walnut Cookies
Now back to the apple cheesecake bars.
To contrast the shortcrust we then add a creamy and tangy cheesecake layer and top it with chopped apples smeared in sugar and cinnamon that become soft but still with a texture that you can bite into.
You can use additional spices here like allspice, cloves, cardamom, make it suit your taste!
The last layer is the crumble made with the same delicious dough used on the bottom.
You could even add some roughly chopped walnuts to it for additional crunch. You can also switch almonds for walnuts.
Now, imagine all the flavors and textures that make the apple cheesecake bars the best fall dessert:
- crumby, sweet, buttery walnut shortcrust crumble streusel,
- creamy, tangy cheesecake,
- tart apples,
- salted caramel.
It’s a heavenly combination. You could, of course, skip the salted caramel sauce, but… don’t!
And if you are filling really over the top and would like to win a title -friend/parent of the year, serve this with a vanilla ice cream. What a sweet way to win life!
How to store apple cheesecake crumble bars
You can easily make these bars a day or two ahead.
Store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Because the bars are very moist and have a cheesecake layer, it’s best to not leave them on the counter for more than a day.
They will keep for about 4 days (or more, but the fresher they are the better they are of course).
Add the caramel just before serving, otherwise, it will soften the streusel topping.
How to freeze the apple cheesecake bars
- Leave them to cool completely after the baking.
- Cut them into squares (for easier storage).
- Put them in an airtight container (use a parchment sheet between each layer)
- Put in the freezer and keep for 3-4 months.
- Leave in the fridge to defrost before serving.
Check the notes in the recipe card for additional information and changes that you can make to the apple cheesecake crumble bars.
What apples to use when making apple bars?
As you may know, some apples bake differently than others and all apples have a different level of sweetness. So for these bars, it’s better to use any tart apple that will give the perfect freshness and contrast to the sweetness of other components.
Recommended apples to use in apple bars/pies:
- Granny Smith,
- Golden Delicious.
And if you need more ideas for what to bake in the fall here are some more awesome fall desserts:
- Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake
- Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Cake
- Chestnut Delight
- Thin Almond Biscotti
- Chocolate and Hazelnut Dessert in a glass
But first, try these delicious apple cheesecake crumble bars with salted caramel sauce, there is nothing stopping you!
Enjoy your sweet fall.
Apple Crumble Cheesecake Bars with Salted Caramel Sauce
Walnut Shortcrust Dough
- 225 g butter at room temperature
- 80 g brown sugar
- 30 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 g flour
- 60 g walnut flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 300 g cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 70 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 medium-sized apples I used Gala
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salted Caramel sauce
- 100 g sugar
- 90 g whipping cream
- 30 g butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Walnut Shortcrust Dough
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 20×20 cm baking pan with parchment paper, or grease and flour it.
- Mix the butter with both sugars and vanilla extract for a minute or until the mixture comes together.
- Add the flour, walnut flour and salt, combine to a uniform dough.
- Put half of the dough to the fridge. At this point, you can add coarsely chopped walnuts to this half of the dough for more crunch and walnut flavor.
- Distribute and press the other half of the dough in the prepared pan. If it's a bit sticky press it with a wet spoon or hands.
- Bake the dough for 15 minutes or until it's a golden brown color.
- Set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients until they are well combined.
- Peel and cut the apples to little cubes or slices.
- Mix them with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the baked dough.
- Distribute the apples on top of the cheesecake mixture.
- Take the other half of the dough from the fridge and distribute little bits of it all over the apples.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Leave to set and cool for 3-4 hours.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Melt the sugar in a high heavy bottom pan on medium-low heat. Stir every so often if the caramel starts to brown too much in one place.
- Heat up the cream until simmer.
- When the sugar is all melted, remove from heat, slowly pour some cream in and stir it in. Be careful as the mixture will bubble a lot. Slowly pour all the cream in and put the caramel back on medium heat. Cook for about 3 more minutes.
- Remove from heat, mix in the vanilla and salt.
- Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then mix in the butter with an immersion blender for a smooth caramel.
- Drizzle the apple bars with caramel just before serving as the caramel will make the top crumble softer after a while.
- You can use almond flour instead of walnut flour.
- Make your own walnut flour by mixing whole walnuts in the food processor.
- Use some coarsly chopped walnuts in the crumble topping for more crunch and walnut flavor.
- You can use store bought caramel but home-made is always much better.
- Check the post to see which apples I recommend using.
- Store the bars in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
- Make sure to leave the bars to cool as they will be quite soft straight from the oven.
- Reheat the caramel in the microwave or on a bain-marie before drzzling if it’s too set.