I'd forgotten how good it feels to make a recipe for no good reason but to enjoy it and relax. I had all the ingredients for this one so instead of going out and spending money (my original plan was to browse at the new Trader Joe's in Shoreview) I stayed home to make this many-step recipe and then a nice dinner.
These bars started with a cookie crust that needed to bake for 15 minutes. While that baked I whipped up the streusel topping, the apple mixture, and then the cream cheese filling. All of these layers went on top of the warm cookie crust and then baked for another 30 minutes.
And then I made the caramel sauce, which was a trial. The first sauce attempt was too pale. The second sauce attempt burned. The third was a charm. It is muy gooey and almost candy-like. I had to re-melt it a bit to spoon it on top of the finished bars.
It's just plain cruel torture to let something cool completely. And then I finally decided that I should refrigerate the bars because of the cheesecake layer. So just a little while ago I cut into the bars. Yum. My dear husband said it tastes like apple pie but better because of the caramel and the cookie bottom.
So my taste tester gives this a thumbs up. I'm glad because we have a lot of bars to eat up! Or share :)