What is it about apples and caramel and cinnamon that immediately make our taste buds stand up and pay attention? I know I’m not alone in that feeling.
Those fantastic flavors are translated into bar form with this recipe. If all the apple and caramel goodness weren’t enough, the crust is packed with butter and oats and cinnamon. Put it all together, and you’ve got layers upon layers of deliciousness!
Caramel Apple Bars
Makes 24 (2 1/4-inch) bars
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 ounces soft caramels (18-20 caramels)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Apple Filling Ingredients:
3 large tart apples (such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Fuji)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9”x 13”x 2” baking pan.
To make the crust, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add cold butter and mix with a pastry blender, a fork, or your hands until mixture is crumbly.
Remove about 1/2 cup of crust mixture. Set aside.
Press remaining dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 16-18 minutes, or until crust is lightly golden. Set pan on wire rack to cool slightly.
To make the caramel layer, place caramels and cream in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth. Immediately pour caramel over partially baked crust and spread evenly.
To make the apple filling, chop apples into small pieces (1/4-1/2-inch). As you chop the apples, place them in a medium bowl and toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Place butter in a large pan over medium heat. When butter has melted, add chopped apples. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and cinnamon and continue cooking another 8 minutes, or until apples are softened.
Spread apple mixture evenly over caramel layer. Scatter reserved crust mixture over top of apple filling.
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until bars are lightly browned. Cool completely in pan before cutting into bars.
apple, baking, bar, caramel, dessert, fall
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