Caramel apples remind me of fall, especially when apple season is in its fullest. I love to walk by candy shops and see these seasonal treats dripping in caramel, white and dark chocolate, and all sorts of goodies like marshmallows, nuts and colored sprinkles. On occasion, especially if I’m with my mother, we will buy one caramel apple and take it home to share. We usually cut it into eight pieces first, so we can savor the sticky sweetness for as long as we can.
I happen to grow my own apples in the backyard and I think they are Galas, but since the tree was there before I was, I’m not exactly sure. During October, it’s always a race between me and the squirrels as to who can get to the ripest apples first. Most of the time they win, much to my chagrin, but that doesn’t stop me from grabbing a few to make some spectacular fall sweets.
Cheesecake is a family favorite, so during apple season I thought a combination of the two treats would be wonderful. This cheesecake has a traditional batter, but then I fold in a freshly made caramel apple syrup that has tons of fall flavors. The batter is layered into the pan in two stages, and bakes up creamy with a hint of caramelized sugar and it’s dotted with cinnamon apple goodness.
When I think about enjoying a slice it makes me salivate, but because it’s only breakfast time, I think I will hold out for a few more hours. I love to serve this cheesecake at parties, or after dinner for a super-duper ending to a great meal, and most likely, I will make it again for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Caramel Apple Syrup
2 apples – gala, granny smith or honey crisp
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package graham crackers, about 16 rectangles
6 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoon sugar
24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
(Make 9-inch Cheesecake)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap outside of springform pan in foil. In a food processor, pulverize all crust ingredients together into fine crumbs. Pour into springform pan and press into bottom. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, remove and let cool.
2. To make syrup, remove skin from apples and dice. In a sauté pan, add butter and sugar and place over medium heat. When melted, add apples and stir. Cook for 4 minutes, allowing liquid to reduce slightly. Turn off heat and add vanilla and cinnamon, stir to combine.
3. In food processor, add all cheesecake ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Pour half of mixture over crust. Spoon half of caramel apple syrup over batter. Repeat, ending with caramel apple syrup on top.
4. Place springform pan in a large casserole dish and fill with hot water halfway up sides. Carefully place casserole dish in oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until mostly firm, but center slightly jiggly.
5. Remove dish from oven and let cheesecake rest in water bath for 5 minutes. Remove cheesecake from water bath and remove foil wrap. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours before slicing. Enjoy!