Treat Day – Week 8 (Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars!)


Hi there!

So keeping with the “cheesecake” theme this month of October, and Halloween being less than a week away, I decided that this week’s featured treat for the Bears should be something that always reminds me of Fall and growing up… CARAMEL APPLES.  This recipe is delicious and is a cross between apple pie and cheesecake. A little bit labor intense, not really difficult, but just a little more time consuming because it consists of a shortbread crust from scratch, a cheesecake filling, a layer of cored, peeled and finely chopped apples tossed in spices, as well as a streusel topping.  And then, to tie-in and perfect all of the flavors…a drizzle of caramel sauce on top.  So worth every ounce of effort here!  If you like Apple Pie, Caramel, Caramel Apples, Cheesecake and fall, get ready to fall in love with these little bars!

Here are my few tips for you if you decide to make these:

  1. If you can, get yourself one of these little apple peeling gadgets – it literally shaves your apples as well as shaves down your time tremendously, and turns your Granny Smiths into a Slinky (like the toy that walks downstairs alone or in pairs and makes a slinkety sound…). So fun! I think they are sold at Williams-Sonoma
  2. I always use salted butter, even though the recipe calls for unsalted
  3. And I always use KRAFT Philadelphia cream cheese – full fat, for anything cheesecake related
  4. If you don’t have a pastry cutter you can also use a fork to incorporate the flour/sugar/butter to make your shortbread and your streusel topping – but a pastry cutter helps with time
  5. For the caramel sauce, I was going to use some of my homemade dulce de leche made from the sweetened condensed milk and thin it out a bit to drizzle on top of these bars, but then stumbled across Smuckers Salted Caramel prepared sauce in the ice-cream section aisle of the grocery store, and it was the perfect consistency (not too runny and not too thick) – so that is my recommendation for this recipe as of last night.
  6. Per usual, I cut these up into little 2-3 bite sized bars, and put them in cupcake liners for easy grab-n-go.


Ok, here is the recipe I found years ago on the Food Network.  I hope you enjoy it!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Please feel free to send me any comments or questions.

Thank you so much for reading my blog and… GO BEARS!!!

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2018 will mark my 7th Season making treats and baking for the Chicago Bears. You might be thinking, how does one land that gig? Well, let me tell you. It’s riveting… My younger brother, Danny, works full-time for the Bears. Our entire family have been life-long Bears fans, btw. Back in the summer of 2012, he came to me and said, “Hey, we need someone to make treats for the team. Do you think you can do it? Because my boss said, Dan, you’ve got all those sisters, can’t one of them bake? So, I volunteered you.” My first response was, “YES, but I don’t know how to bake”. I mean, up until that point, the only things I remember ever baking were 1) S’mores Bars back in the 80’s off a recipe on the back of the Golden Grahams cereal box. Come to think of it now, I don’t even think those things went into the oven – so technically that wasn’t baking. And 2) Good old Nestle Toll House cookies – which NEVER turned out the same each time I baked them and it drove me nuts and got me to HATE baking for that very reason. I was always in love with cooking, though. I was the gal who threw dinner parties often and provided an obnoxious array of hors d’oeuvres and wine – that’s more my thing. Side note: I learned the hard way that baking and wine don’t mix. Ha! However, I was honored and excited to have been asked to step up to the plate for this little baking / treat-making gig, for THE CHICAGO BEARS, no less. So my answer was an enthusiastic, YES! I figured I still had a month before the first regular season game, which is when the “treat days” begin – every Thursday during the regular season (not preseason). So, I hit the streets in search of good recipes and then got to work test-baking in the kitchen for the rest of that summer. As I became more internet savvy, I started following lots of baking bloggers and watching video tutorials. I would go to parties and if I tasted something that I thought was exceptional, I would never hesitate to ask for the recipe. Baking for the Bears is always in the back of my mind when eating desserts. I now have an arsenal of treat recipes worthy of offering at a bake shop, if I do say so myself;) . I started getting requests for my pound cake, outside of Baking for the Bears, and my Double Chocolate Chip Sea Salt cookies have been quoted as “The best cookies in the world” by a well-known player, as well as friends, family and neighbors. One of the first things I did was perfect a cookie of my own that comes out pretty consistently crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I no longer rely on the old Toll-House recipe. It’s the one thing I never get tired of baking. The guys get them every week. With that said, this season, I plan to blog my recipes each week, and share with you whatever it is I am making for the Bears. I’ll also give you tried & true feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and any fun comments that the players, staff, friends & co-workers might have regarding the treat of the week. My office colleagues love it when football season rolls around, because I typically find new recipes and test-bake on Sundays to bring in on Mondays for critical reviews. From there, I decide if they are Bear-worthy for Thursday Treat Days at Halas Hall. I hope you will check in periodically and enjoy my blog. I’m super excited for the 2018 Bears football season both on the field and in the kitchen! GO BEARS! This is gonna be a good season… I can feel it!

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