For the apple-craving sweet tooth, these bars are made with cider that is cooked down into a sweet syrup, swirled with cream cheese and spooned over a gingersnap crust. Drizzled with caramel syrup, they’re perfect for fall.
My fall-loving heart can hardly take all the goodness of this season. The crunchy leaves, the pumpkins on doorsteps, the bowls of warm-you-up goodness, the cardigans, the cold toes and fuzzy socks. And, of course, the socially acceptable practice of pouring warm caramel over desserts.
To insure that we did fall right after 5 years in the land of no cold weather, we haven’t missed a single opportunity for fall fun. Which is why we didn’t just go to the pumpkin patch. No, we went to the pumpkin patch that is also a cider mill (you Kansas City locals know it as the Louisburg Cider Mill).
With a corn maze, field of pumpkins, warm cider at every turn, apple cider donuts and an old timey band playing, it was a welcome return to all the great things about the season that we’ve missed these past few years. (And a reminder that I need a warmer coat. Brrrr.)
Any jug full of cider sort of begs to be turned into dessert, and this year, these bars are it. I make them in the food processor (like these cheesecake bites, also a seasonal favorite!), so they come together in a flash. The top layer gets its flavor from apple cider cooked down into a fragrant, bubbling syrup.
A drizzle of warm caramel puts these over the top. In the best possible way.
Caramel Apple Cider Bars
For the topping:
- 3 cups Apple Cider
- 1 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 2 8- oz packages Cream Cheese, softened
- 2 Eggs
- 1/3 cup Caramel Syrup (opt)
For the crust:
- 2 1/2 cups Gingersnap cookies (by weight should be 8oz / 225g)
- 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) Butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a small saucepan, boil cider and sugar until it is thick and syrupy and reduces to about 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, for about 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.
- While the cider cooks down, lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish. In a food processor, pulse the cookies and butter until finely ground. Gently press into the bottom of the pan. Wipe out the bowl of the food processor and fill with cream cheese and eggs. Blend until smooth. With the food processor running, pour the cider over the cream cheese and blend until smooth.
- Pour filling over prepared crust. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is set, 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
If Molly and Clara could vote on their favorite aspect of fall, they’d probably choose the driveway puddles.