My Thanksgiving dessert

On Thanksgiving we had my side of the family over early in the day for brunch. We started this tradition a few years ago when we were trying to figure out a way to get to both my side and hubby's side for Thanksgiving.  My older sister and brother both have another Thanksgiving dinner to go to and we needed to make it early enough in the day that we had a chance to recover and to mix things up by not having all of the traditional foods. My younger sister used to work at JC Penny and would usually be scheduled early, like 3:00am the next morning for Black Friday so being out late in the day on Thanksgiving didn't work for her and her family. So having brunch works for us. This year was a bit different though. Many of us have gone gluten free so finding things to make was a bit of a challenge. I made Apple Streusel Cheesecake bars and they were a hit! My hubby smokes a turkey every year so we had that and blueberry and chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, stuffing, biscuits and gravy casserole, veggies, mandarin oranges and a coffee and beverage bar. It really was a lot of fun and everyone had plenty to eat. There were 17 of us this year and it was such a blessing to have my family over. I hope you enjoyed your holiday however you spent it! 

Here is the recipe I used, I hope you try it whether you are gluten free or not, it is delicious! 




 1 Betty Crocker Gluten Free yellow cake mix
1/2 cup cold butter
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 21 oz can apple pie filling*
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

* The recipe calls for one can but my sister in law Tami and I both agreed that it would probably taste better with another can. 
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place cake mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture; press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  4. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust. In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon. Cut the apples in to smaller pieces so it spreads evenly. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Sprinkle with walnuts.
  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator. 
  6. When you are going to serve it I found that the crust stuck to the bottom of the dish so use a metal spatula to keep it from crumbling when lifting them out.
Makes 24 bars