Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Caramel Apple Bars

There's a chill in the air. And when the weather starts to cool down my mind immediately switches into fall mode. Which for me, means fall baking and cooking! I love all the warm aromatic spices and flavors of fall like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pumpkin. There's just something so comforting about apple pie or gingerbread bars or pumpkin cookies baking in the oven, especially after a long day. 

I kicked off my fall baking this year with these delicious caramel apple bars and I'm really glad I did! These bars are like a much needed warm hug. 

A cinnamon and oat crust is covered with a luscious layer of gooey caramel and then topped with buttery sauteed apples and finished off with more delicious crumb mixture. These bars are pure heaven.

The yummy oat crust
 Rich caramel sauce. Love it!

Golden cinnamon and nutmeg spiced apples
 More buttery oat crumble
Bake - Enjoy the aroma as it fills your house - Cool Completely - Devour

Delightfully Borrowed From: Annies-Eats.com

Caramel Apple Crumble Bars
Yield: 16 bars

For the filling:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 large (or 5 medium) apples, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of grated nutmeg
9 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped *
2 tbsp. heavy cream *

For the dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Butter or grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan. 

To make the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, under the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the dough. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla and stir with a fork or knead very briefly just until a crumbly dough comes together. Transfer about two thirds of the dough mixture to the prepared baking pan and press down into an even layer. Bake until light golden, about 12-14 minutes.

While the base is baking, combine the caramels and cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Melt the caramels, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is totally smooth. Remove from the heat. Once the base layer is baked, pour the caramel over the top. Layer with the cooked apple slices. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the apple slices. Sprinkle evenly with the chopped nuts, if using.

Bake about 22-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

* I used half a jar of caramel sauce instead of melting caramels.
** You can also double the recipe and use a 13 x 9 pan. You only need 6 large apples when doubling.
*** After making these a handful of times, I find it easiest to cool these completely and then refrigerate them for an hour before cutting into squares. Even with these steps, it's a bit tricky to cut these into bars. If you serve this warm from the oven, you'll have a delicious apple crisp!


Anonymous said...

Summer these are AMAZING!!!!! :-)) - Joy

Bake-A-Holic said...

Thanks Joy! Glad you liked them.

Bev said...

These look delicious! I could use a warm hug right about now :)


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