Feel like curling up into a ball today while you wait for the election to be over? Make these and take them with you to the couch.
These caramel apple bars fulfill all of your fall dessert needs. Love caramel apples, but can’t see yourself going through the trouble of making them? That’s me! These fill that void of caramel apple goodness, with the addition of a buttery, cookie-like crumble. They also give me that little taste of apple pie that I start to crave around this time of year when I am not quite ready to commit to making that whole pie just yet.
You can make the caramel sauce in advance, and just warm it up when you need to drizzle it on these beauties. Plus, then you have caramel sauce lying around for all you fall eating needs.
For the crust
1 stick plus 2 Tbsp salted butter (softened)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
For the filling
3-4 small apples (sliced thin)
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
Caramel Sauce (use this recipe here)
Caramel squares (quartered) (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan.
Mix the softened butter with the brown sugar (this can be done in a stand mixer or by hand) Add the cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour and mix to combine well. This should be crumbly.
Save 1 cup of this mixture to sprinkle on the top later. Press the remaining mixture down into your greased baking pan to create the crust layer.
Bake uncovered for 12 minutes so this can harden up a bit.
Next, slice the apples thinly and begin to layer them on top of the cooked crust. Drizzle the warm caramel sauce on top of the apples and sprinkle everything with cinnamon and nutmeg. (I used a pre-made mixture I had on hand of cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and cloves, but that’s just how I roll.)
Sprinkle your remaining cup of crust mixture on the top, and if you’ve chosen to go above and beyond, place a few caramel candy pieces around the crumb mixture. These bits really stick in your teeth and drive home that caramel apple feel, but feel free to omit them if you don’t want all that. You can also sprinkle a little coarse sanding sugar on top for an extra sugary crunch, if desired.
Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes.
Let cool and slice into bars. Yes, they’re almost too sweet, yes they’re almost too gooey, but isn’t that what caramel apples are all about?
Go ahead. Indulge. We’ve all been through a lot.