Gluten-Free Apple Butter Swirl Cheesecake Bars

by Erin

Last week I effectively defended and acquired my PhD. Today my friend and fellow labmate Stephanie is defending for hers! Not that there is any doubt about her passing and become at double doctor (she already has her PharmD), but to help alleviate her stress I baked treats for her captive audience and committee.

Apple Butter Swirl Cheesecake Bars 1

I’ve finally warmed up to the idea of fall despite the non-fall-like weather, and am attempting to will the changing of the seasons through baking seasonal things. I devised these with cozy fall flavors of apple butter mixed with cheesecake in order to impart warm and fuzzy feelings upon everyone.

Apple Butter Swirl Cheesecake Bars 2

After Stephanie’s grill session is over (during which I am sure she will blow them away) we are going out to celebrate both of our success! Now all we have to do is find jobs – what happened to the days when our parents were offered jobs upon graduation without even applying?

Apple Butter Swirl Cheesecake Bars 3

One year ago: Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls

Two years ago: Pesto Burgers


Makes 16 bars



1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature


1 (8 oz.) package reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch Salt

1/4 cup apple butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the crust: Stir the flour, brown sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and use a pastry cutter to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan (if the mixture is sticky, pop it in the fridge for a few minutes – it’s easier to press into the pan when cold). Bake for 15 minutes, or until light brown and set. Remove the pan to a wire rack.
  3. For the filling: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with sugar until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, vanilla and salt, and beat just until the mixture is uniform. Remove 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture into another bowl. Add the apple butter and mix until blended.
  4. Pour plain cheesecake mixture over the crust (it’s fine if the crust is warm, no need to cool it completely). Top with drops of apple butter mixture and swirl with a knife.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let the bars cool completely, then refrigerate for at least a few hours. Use the foil handles to lift the bars out. Cut into squares for serving.

Source: Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures and Chocolate Moosey.


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Zainab @ Blahnik Baker October 4, 2013 - 11:55 am

These are crazy good looking!!! I am obsessed with apple butter. I hope you had fun celebrating with your lab mate :)

Carla October 3, 2013 - 6:07 pm

Cheesecake cheesecake cheesecake! And belated congrats on being Dr. Erin now :)

spiffycookie October 4, 2013 - 8:42 am

Thank you!!

Tracey October 3, 2013 - 3:07 pm

These are SO gorgeous, Erin! I’m crazy in love with the swirling. Have fun celebrating with your friend, you guys have definitely earned it!

Jennie @themessybakerblog October 3, 2013 - 1:17 pm

Weee! Congrats, doctor. These bars look amazing. You totally deserve an entire plate.

Vicki @ WITK October 3, 2013 - 10:46 am

I loved it when all my friends and I were defending, it felt so uplifting! Glad you have time now to get back into the kitchen, these look perfect for fall.

steph@stephsbitebybite October 3, 2013 - 10:17 am

I have this plate!!! Love it! And these swirls are just so purty!


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