So today I noticed the date and started freaking out. Why? Because we’re into the third week of November and I have yet to begin my Christmas shopping. Like, I haven’t even bought Christmas cards.
By December 1st last year I had all my Christmas shopping – and most of the wrapping – done. So far, all I’ve done this year is scan through a few websites and make a note of stuff I think My Official Treat Taster would like, but even that list isn’t solid. Does anyone else think “Ooh! That would make a great gift for my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/neighbour/goldfish” then realise that that person probably wouldn’t be interested in the gift at all, when in fact it’s you who wants the gift?
I do it all the time without even realising. It’s like my brain is scheming against me. “Yes Nicky, I’m sure your boyfriend would love those super-cute pink cupcake liners for Christmas. Who wouldn’t?” Just like these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Oaty Bars. According to my brain, I was making them for My Official Treat Taster who loves caramel, apples, cheesecake, oats and erm… bars? But who ended up eating most of them? Yeah, me.
But they were so so good. Like a tiny bit of fall in every mouthful. I’m not going to kid you – they’re not pretty. They crumble all over the place and don’t cut in definitive bar-shaped, but I still love them. An oaty, buttery Graham cracker base, layered with caramel and apples, topped with traditional cheesecake, layered with oaty crisp topping and smothered in caramel. What’s there not to love?
- 1/2 cup crushed Graham crackers
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2 apples
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 16 oz cream cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2/3 cup oats
- 1/3 cup butter chilled and cubed
- 1/3 cup caramel sauce
Line a 9"x9" baking dish with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix together the Graham cracker crumbs, oats and butter until all the liquid has been dissolved. Press into the bottom of the baking dish and refrigerate.
Peel and chop the apples into small chunks - about half an inch cubed. Toss the apple chunks in the cinnamon and layer them on top of the oat and Graham cracker base.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla until light and thick. Pour on top of the apples and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, flour and oats. Rub in the butter with your finger tips until only a few pea-sized pieces of butter remain.
Sprinkle the oaty topping on top of the cheesecake layer and bake for 40-50 minutes or until fully set.
Remove from the oven and pour over the caramel sauce.
Leave to cool completely before serving.
Here are the link parties I link up to.