Food + Wine

Butterscotch Apple Cheesecake Squares with Brown Sugar Shortbread Crust

If you couldn’t tell by the title, (or the photo), this dessert is insanely rich. INSANELY.  RICH.  Butterscotch isn’t really my thing.  I can remember being a kid in my grandmother’s house and coming across a crystal bowl of these beautiful, shiny orange candies.  I reached out my tiny, sneaky hand and grabbed a handful to take upstairs.  I ran inside my bedroom, closed the door and tore open the wrapping, giddy with excitement.  Candy!  Orange flavored, forbidden candy!  I took one lick of that thing and spit it out, vowing to never again eat whatever horrific confection it was.  Butterscotch and 6 year olds do not mix well.  So I think that sort of ruined butterscotch for me.  I maybe have had it one other time in my entire life.  But I was cleaning out my pantry the other day and came across some butterscotch baking chips that I didn’t even know I had.  So, I decided to create a recipe using them.  I’ve always felt that butterscotch is just too rich.  So what did I do?  I paired it with cheesecake.  And shortbread.  And brown sugar.  In short, I made it a heck of a lot richer.  So beware.  You’ve been warned.

The bottom of these squares is a shortbread made with brown sugar, then the top is a thin cheesecake layer.  In between those two lovely layers is a river of butterscotch and apples.  So be sure to allow this to cool completely, or it will look like this…

Patience was never my strong suit.

*For the Crust-
-In the bowl of your food processor combine 2 cups of flour (whole wheat Pastry flour is always a great, high fiber, substitute) with 2/3 cup of light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 2 sticks of cold butter that you’ve cut into chunks. Process this until the butter has crumbled evenly into the dry ingredients.
-Dump this into a greased and floured 9×13 inch glass baking dish and press down to create a firm, even layer.
-Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool while you make your filling.

*For the Apples-
-In a small mixing bowl, toss 4 large apples (about 2 lbs worth) that you’ve cored and diced with the juice of half a lemon (you will use the other half later). Make sure to coat all your apple pieces with some lemon juice to prevent oxidation. Set aside.

*For the Filling-
-In a large mixing bowl, with an electric beater, beat 2 8oz packages of Neufchatel cream cheese (I always use low fat) with a pinch of kosher salt and 1/3 cup of white sugar until smooth.
-Add in 2 large eggs, one at a time, while beating.
-Beat in the juice from the other half of the lemon and a splash of vanilla extract. When then mixture is silky smooth, set aside while you begin your assembly.

*Assembly and Baking-
-Spread your prepared apples over your cooled shortbread crust.
-Sprinkle over your apples 1 12oz bag of Butterscotch chips. Evenly distribute both the apples and chips over your crust.

-Slowly pour your filling over the apples and chips, being sure to get it as even as possible. Shake and jiggle the pan carefully to allow some filling to get through and to release any air bubbles.

-Bake in the 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is set.

-Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Seriously.  And these need to be eaten with a fork…they’re a little messy.

I love how the top has this beautiful cracked, marble effect.  Gorgeous!

(Caramels would be a great substitute if the butterscotch flavor is too much for you.)

Nama would have loved these.  Enjoy!

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  • Reply Zoe January 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Butterscotch and apple is a great combination and these cheesecake squares are big winner! I won't be patient too to wait to taste a slice of this.

  • Reply Everyday Champagne January 11, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Hehe, thanks Zoe!

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