Everything that you love about apple crisp and cheesecake rolled into one delicious gluten free dessert!
My boys have always been a part of my recipe development team. They are my taste testers, critics, and sous chefs. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Aside from eating mom’s creations, they also provide some ideas for new recipes. This recipe for Gluten Free Apple Crisp Cheesecake Bars comes from a collaboration with my youngest son (15).
We simply love apple crisp. It is the most made dessert recipe in our home and for good reason. Simple ingredients. Simple flavors. Absolutely incredible results. If you are looking for a knock-your-socks-off recipe for gluten free apple crisp, you needn’t look any further.
My son suggested that we try to incorporate apple crisp into other types of recipes. We tossed around several ideas. We finally landed on cheesecake bars. It’s another recipe that we love and one that is incredibly versatile. How easy it would be to add an apple layer and then a crumb layer. So we gave it a go, and we had a winner on attempt #1.
Crust and Crumb Layers
The crust and crumb layer are one in the same. Begin by combining 2 sticks of salted butter (but into small cubes), 1.5 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1 & 2/3 cups gluten free flour, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Next roll up your sleeves, get ready to use some elbow grease, and work all of those ingredients together into crumbs.
I like to use my hands because I can feel when the butter and dry ingredients are incorporated. You may also use a pastry blender or 2 forks. It will take a few minutes to bring this mixture to the right crumb. You do not want sandy crumbs. Keep working. Your crumbs should easily hold together and look like this: At this point, line an 8″ x 10″ baking dish with parchment paper. Reserve 2 cups (unpacked) of the crumbs in a separate bowl. These will be used later to make the crumb layer. Press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of the prepared baking sheet. Pierce several times with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
The cheesecake layer for this recipe comes together in a snap. It is best to have all of the ingredients for this layer at room temperature. Begin by creaming one 8 ounce block of cream cheese until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. Mix together until smooth. Add in 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix until all of the ingredients are smooth.
Pour over the prebaked crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
You will need 4 cups of diced apples. I would steer clear of hard apples such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady. Opt for somewhat softer varieties such as Gala, Jonagold, Pinata, or Macintosh. Peel, core, and dice the apples. The dice size should be on the smaller size to allow for quicker cooking.
In a skillet melt 2 tablespoons of salted butter and add 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar. Add in the apples and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning. Adjust the stove top flame/temperature as needed to prevent burning. The goal is to simply partially soften up the apples; they will not cook through all the way during this phase.
Turn off heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of gluten free flour.
Putting Gluten Free Apple Crisp Cheesecake Bars Together
Once the cheesecake layer has cooked for ten minutes, remove the baking dish from the oven and scatter the cooked apples on top.
Next take the 2 cups of reserved crumbs and sprinkle over the apples.
Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the crumb topping is golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours.
Next, you’ll need to allow these bars to chill in the fridge overnight. The wait will be worth it.
Once chilled, cut into bars. Just prior to serving, I like to pipe on some whipped cream. You can use a prepared whipped topping like TruWhip or make your own by whipping 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with a whisk attachment on your stand mixer. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of sifted powdered sugar. Whisk until the cream thickens. You can simply spoon the cream on top of the bars just before serving or use a piping bag to pipe the cream on.
Grab a fork friends; this is one yummy dessert.
Gluten Free Apple Crisp Cheesecake Bars
- 16 tablespoons salted butter, cubed (cold from the fridge)
- 1 & 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 & 2/3 cups gluten free flour with xanthan gum (I used Bob's 1 to 1)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 ounces cream cheese (block type - softened at room temperature)
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 cups diced apples (peeled)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon gluten free flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1-2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Line a 8" x 10" baking dish with parchment paper.
- The crust and crumb layer are one in the same. Begin by combining 2 sticks of salted butter (but into small cubes), 1.5 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1 & 2/3 cups gluten free flour, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Next roll up your sleeves, get ready to use some elbow
grease, and work all of those ingredients together into crumbs.
- I like to use my hands because I can feel when the butter and dry ingredients are incorporated. You may also use a pastry blender or 2 forks. It will take a few minutes to bring this mixture to the right crumb. You do not want sandy crumbs. Keep working. Your crumbs should easily hold together.
- Reserve 2 cups (unpacked) of the crumbs in a separate bowl. These will be used later to make the crumb layer. Press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of the prepared baking sheet. Pierce several times with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
- For the cheesecake layer, place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream until light and fluffy. Add in the condensed sweetened milk. Mix until smooth. Add in the egg and cinnamon, mixing until smooth. Pour the mixture over the prebaked crust. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- While the cheesecake is cooking, work on the apple layer. Melt 2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. Stir in the brown sugar. Add in 4 cups of diced apples. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring very often to prevent sticking and burning. Adjust stove temperature as needed. Stir in one tablespoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Spread the apples over the cheesecake layer.
- Sprinkle the reserved 2 cups of crumbs over the apples.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crumbs are golden.
- Allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Chill in the fridge overnight or for 5 hours.
- Cut into bars.
- Just prior to serving make the whipped cream. Place 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 1-2 tablespoons of sifted powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high until the cream thickens.
- Spoon or pipe the cream over each bar.
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