Written by Diane Becker @ Common Ground Nebraska

This recipe is a decadent dessert made with apples! I often get questions about different kinds of foods. You can use any type of apple for this recipe, but in my quick cooking video, I share three types of apples that our family uses: store-bought, apples grown by our neighbor who has an orchard, and organic. All three types of apples will work

  • Store-bought: Some have a tougher skin, but will stay in the refrigerator for a long time, so I like to keep these apples around.

  • Home-grown: Not organic as my neighbors spray to keep bugs and fungus away. But I just thoroughly wash them before we eat and they’ll last in the refrigerator for a couple of months. They are also only available for about a month’s time every year.

  • Organic: I get these from the Farmer’s Market only during a couple months of the year and they do not last very long in my refrigerator. It’s still important to wash organic foods and to cut out the spoiled part.


Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping


2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

½ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel topping ingredients

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup packed brown sugar

¾ cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon lemon zest

½ cup butter

½ cup caramel topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

  4. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.

  5. In a small bowl, combine all Streusel topping ingredients.

  6. Sprinkle Streusel topping evenly over cheesecake mixture.

  7. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.


CommonGround is a farmer-driven, volunteer program created to clear up misconceptions and enhance the trust and awareness among urban consumers for today’s agriculture. CommonGround serves as a partnership between the nation’s soybean and corn checkoffs. To learn more about CommonGround, visit www.findourcommonground.com, and learn more about the farm women involved in CommonGround Nebraska at www.CommonGroundNebraska.com.