Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars.
Caramel Apple Pie Bars are better than Apple pie in my opinion. If you like apple pie, this recipe is for you. Imagine a slice of apple pie, but better. A buttery shortbread crust. A brown sugar oat streusel. Gooey cinnamon apples. And silky-smooth salted caramel.
…all in one.
These apple pie bars are a cinch to make.
A few steps and you’ll be ready to go. First, make a simple shortbread crust. Nothing fancy here! Butter, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt. Nothing more, nothing less. Simplicity is key when you are making shortbread.
The buttery shortbread crust is just like my favorite pie crust recipe, only easier. And perfect as the base layer for all your favorite bar desserts. I use this shortbread crust in a few of my cookbook recipes – I’ve heard nothing but great feedback. Plus, it’s easy.
Next, add the apples.
Tons and tons and tons of ’em. Use your
• 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
• 2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)1
• 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 cup (40g) old-fashioned oats
• 1/3 cup (70g) packed light or dark brown sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C).
Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
2. Make the crust:
Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling and streusel.
3. Make the apple filling:
Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
4. Make the streusel:
Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
5. Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C).
Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. It will look like there are too many apple slices, so layer them tightly and press them down to fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars. Once cut, drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top of each. These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even cold.
Make-ahead tip: The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and drizzling with caramel.
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