Caramel Apple Pie Bars. They're a combination of apple pie, apple bars (or an apple slice) and apple crumble. Talk about combining three amazing things in one single bite.
But these things also have caramel. Salted caramel. Sticky, warm, sweet caramel. Talk about combining four amazing things in one single bite.
Further, these bars can be eaten warm alongside a scoop of icecream (or custard... whatever takes your fancy), or cold. I can't decide which way I like these bars best. I eat a piece warm and absolutely love it. But then I eat it cold and I also love it that way. So I eat another warm piece in the hopes my mind will be made up. But no, I still can't decide.
As expected, this is a multiple-step recipe but don't let that turn you off from baking these bars. They're seriously amazing, people. The crumbly, buttery base; the tart, crunchy apples; the crunchy topping; the sticky caramel. Need I say more? Go make them now.
Caramel Apple Bars
makes 15 large pieces
115g butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 150C. Line an 8-inch baking pan with baking paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
Make the crust: Stir the melted butter, sugar and vanilla 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.
Make the apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter using your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 180C. 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.
To make the caramel: In a pan, add the sugar and heat over medium heat. When the
edges start to caramelize, use a whisk to stir everything together. When the sugar has melted, add the cream. It will initially seize up, but just keep stirring over low heat until the sauce is smooth. This can take up to 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the butter to the caramel, whisking until smooth.
Remove bars from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Once cut, pour salted caramel on top. These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm or cold.
Recipe slightly adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com