Sunday, November 23, 2014

Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Bars

A few weeks ago I made this amazing creamy caramel sauce and I immediately knew I needed a vessel to smother with it. In the vein of how noodles are a vessel for sauce these bars were a way to put more of the caramel into my face. So I said "let there be caramel apple pie bars", and so it was, and it was delicious.
With bars you might think the filling carries the dish but like with most things, pastries not excluded, the foundation does all of the heavy lifting. In this particular case shortbread is where we start construction, from the ground up... And by "ground" I totally just mean the bottom of an 9"x 9" baking pan. You can also use an 8"x 8" pan for slightly thicker bars.

Shortbread is sturdy and stays super crunchy even when you put a whole mess of gooey, sugary, apple pie filling on top. There's nothing worse than a soggy crust. Know what I'm saying? You totally know. It's really easy to make and only has 5 ingredients and can be used for a ton of different recipes. 
Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Bars

You can see from my x-large photos above that the dough comes together to form a ball which is awesome because that makes it easy to press into a pan. I lined my 9"x 9" pan with non-stick foil, which I highly suggest. This makes it easy to lift the whole thing out to be sliced. Any ways, just use your little paws to press the dough into the bottom of the pan and bake that baby while you mix up your filling and streusel topping!

For this recipe I used a really simple apple pie filling that I cut down by a third. I usually use about 6 apples for a pie, as most people do, so 2 will do it for these bars. Also, while we're talking about apples, I think using anything beside the granny smith variety is a baking sin. There are several schools of thought on this subject by I obviously subscribe to my own way of thinking because it has never done me wrong.
Caramel Apple Pie Bars
There is just something so perfectly perfect about a tart granny smith covered in sweetness that takes it to a whole other place. Plus I put a whole mess of caramel on top so a sweet apple would just be indulgent of me...

Now: Streusel! For this layer of goodness there are 2 things to remember. The first is to have your butter be COLD and the second is to use old fashioned oats not quick cooking. Cold butter and old fashioned oats in a streusel give it that amazing crumbly texture that a bar like this craves! I would suggest using a pastry cutter for mixing the crumble but if you don't have one two knives working in an X pattern will totally work.

Caramel Apple Pie Bars

I would totally put this streusel on top of yogurt but it has raw butter in it so I would make sure I was alone first.

Next the layers come together...

Caramel Apple Pie Bars

...and we bake, cool, smother in caramel, and eat the whole batch.

Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Makes: 9-12 Bars
Prep Time:10 Minutes     Cook Time: 45-50 Minutes     Total Time: 55 Minutes-1 Hour

Shortbread Crust-
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter- Softened
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Apple Pie Filling-
  • 2 Large Granny Smith Apples- peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
Streusel Topping-
  • 1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats (not quick cooking/instant)
  • 1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Butter- Cold and Cubed
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line baking pan with non-stick foil- leave overhang (8"x 8" or 9"x 9" pans will work)
Shortbread Crust-
  1. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together
  2. Add in the flour and mix until just combined
  3. Press the dough into your prepared pan evenly
  4. bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven- the crust will not be fully cooked, this will be finished later
Apple Pie Filling-
  1. Toss apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together until the apples are completely and evenly coated, set aside while you prepare the streusel
Streusel Topping-
  1. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and butter together until large crumbs form
  1. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Press apple mixture onto crust until even- the crust does not need to be completely cooled for this step
  3. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples evenly
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown- remove from oven and allow to cool to room temp.
  5. Drizzle with caramel and chill in the refrigerator to allow filling to set
  6. Lift foil out of pan and slice into bars- can be served warm or cold!
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If you liked this recipe you might also like:
Apple Pie Moonshine

Mini No-Bake Apple Pie Bites

1 comment:

  1. G'day Looks great! All blog comments appreciated and sharing is caring today!
    Cheers! Joanne @ What's On The List #SayGdayParty pinned


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