Two Peas and Their Pod

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

Last week my sister-in-law, Whitney, and I spent some time in the kitchen together. Whitney is super talented-she makes the cutest beanies, is a wonderful mother and wife, and whips up the most amazing recipes. I was thrilled we had a chance to create a few recipes together.

Because of the chill in the air, we both had fall on the brain.  After brainstorming for a bit, we decided to make Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars. We are both in love with salted caramel everything and thought the salted caramel sauce would make the Apple Crumb Bars extra special…and we were right. These bars are extra, extra special! The apple crumb bars are good, but with the salted caramel sauce, they are to die for.

Whitney made the salted caramel sauce, while I worked on the apple crumb bars. Don’t be intimidated by the caramel sauce. I promise it is easy to make. Just make sure you watch it closely. Caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. You can use store-bought caramel sauce, if you absolutely have to, but I beg you to make homemade salted caramel sauce. It will change your life for the better.

We added fleur de sel to the caramel. If you don’t have fleur de sel, you can use Maldon sea salt flakes. A flaky salt works best because it melts in with the caramel. When Whit was done with the caramel, she let me have a taste-creamy caramel with a hint of salt-perfection. I was tempted to skip the bars and just drink the jar of caramel sauce, but I was trying to be on my best behavior since we had company:)

The bars have a thick buttery crust, a layer of spiced apples that get drizzled with the salted caramel sauce, and a crumb topping. When the bars were cool, I cut them into squares and drizzled them with additional salted caramel sauce.

We served the Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars for dessert and everyone loved them! High five Whitney! We are a great team!

Fall is in the air and that means you need a special fall dessert. It doesn’t get any better than these Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars. So get in the kitchen and make them happen!

And if you are a pumpkin fan, make sure you check out our 50 Pumpkin Recipes for Fall post! You better start now so you can make them all:)

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars-the perfect dessert for fall. These bars are also good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Ingredients:

Salted Caramel Sauce:

2 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes

Apple Crumb Bars

For the Apple Filling:

5 cups peeled and diced apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice

For the crust:

3 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

To make the Salted Caramel Sauce:

1. First, make sure you have all of the ingredients ready. Once you start the caramel sauce you have to pay close attention so you don't burn it. To begin, heat the sugar over medium high-heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking. It will continue to melt. When the sugar is melted, stop whisking. You can swirl the pan to move the sugar around.

2. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. Make sure you watch the pan very closely. This is where it is easy to burn the caramel. You want the caramel to reach 350 degrees F. If you are new to making caramel, I suggest using a thermometer.

3. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes.

5. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large mason jar and cool to room temperature while you make the apple crumb bars. This recipe makes 2 cups of caramel sauce. You can store the leftover caramel sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To make the Apple Crumb Bars:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. For the apple filling- place the diced apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground all-spice. Pour over the apples and carefully combine. Set aside.

3. For the dough-in a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or by using your hands, until butter is mixed in, but you still have small chunks of butter. Mix the egg and vanilla together. Add into the flour and butter mixture and combine. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan.

4. Spread the apple mixture evenly over the bottom crust. Drizzle about salted caramel sauce over the apple filling, about 3/4 cup. Crumble the remaining dough over the apple caramel layer and pat gently.

5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the squares and serve.

Note-you won't use all of the salted caramel sauce for this recipe. Store the leftover sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

If you like these Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars, you might also like:

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136 Responses to “Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars”

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  1. 1
    Rosa — September 10, 2012 @ 4:13 am

    Terrificc! Those looks so irresistible.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. 2
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — September 10, 2012 @ 4:18 am

    I’m a total pumpkin fan! Love how delicious these look :)

  3. 3
    Cherine — September 10, 2012 @ 4:19 am

    Awesome bars!! I’m drooling!

  4. 4
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 10, 2012 @ 5:37 am

    They look awesome – love all the layers and flavors going on!

  5. 5
    Blog is the New Black — September 10, 2012 @ 6:06 am

    Perfect fall dessert!

  6. 6
    holly — September 10, 2012 @ 6:09 am

    Yum, the perfect dessert for autumn.

  7. 7
    Beth — September 10, 2012 @ 6:13 am

    Apples and caramel are such a wonderful combination!

  8. 8
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — September 10, 2012 @ 6:18 am

    I’d really love one of these for breakfast. Surely that’s okay. And maybe another for snack ;) Don’t tell.

  9. 9
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — September 10, 2012 @ 6:34 am

    These look AMAZING!

  10. 10
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — September 10, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    The combination of apples and salted caramel is spot-on Maria! I just made cupcakes with the same flavor combination! I love salted caramel so much. I’m not surprised everyone loved these!

  11. 11
    antique engagement rings — September 10, 2012 @ 6:58 am

    The bars look awesome!

  12. 12
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — September 10, 2012 @ 7:04 am

    These look heavenly!! Yum!

  13. 13

    Oh my, do these crumb bars look delish! My stomach started to growl as soon as I saw them!!!

  14. 14
    Elizabeth @Food Ramblings — September 10, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    Anything salted caramel is my fave!!

  15. 15
    sue @ cakeballs, cookies and more — September 10, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    man, those look so good!

  16. 16
    The Hungry Housewife — September 10, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    I have a love/hate relationship with making caramel! I seem to alway burn my first batch!
    These look amazing Maria.

  17. 17
    DessertForTwo — September 10, 2012 @ 8:54 am

    I agree-salted caramel makes everything great!

  18. 18
    Aggie — September 10, 2012 @ 9:12 am

    Something about salted + caramel + apple that makes my taste buds sing…..great photos!!!

  19. 19
    icakepops — September 10, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    Salted caramel anything is a win – the drizzle on top really makes this bar heavenly!

  20. 20
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — September 10, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    Ha! We’re totally on the same wavelength… I had vision of apple caramel stuff this weekend too. Haven’t posted yet though :)

  21. 21
    Erica — September 10, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    Crumb is always yummy! These scream fall. Love that you got to bake with your sil

  22. 22
    Paloma — September 10, 2012 @ 9:50 am

    oooh! YUM! Great pictures too!

  23. 23
    RavieNomNoms — September 10, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    UM yes please!!! Salted caramel sauce….heaven

  24. 24
    bridget {bake at 350} — September 10, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    Oh, I know these must be SO GOOD!!! I’m with you…I think I could drink a jar of salted caramel sauce straight up. ;)

  25. 25

    Oh wow – 8 am and I am drooling. That caramel looks heavenly!

  26. 26
    Cookin' Canuck — September 10, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    These sound fantastic…the perfect way to welcome fall. And I agree – there’s not substitute for homemade caramel!

  27. 27
    Cookbook Queen — September 10, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    These are just about the most perfect dessert ever!! Can’t wait to whip up a batch for myself!!

  28. 28
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — September 10, 2012 @ 10:27 am

    Salted caramel ROCKS! These bars look amazing!

  29. 29
    Jocelyn at BruCrew Life — September 10, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    I am in love with all things salted caramel right now too!!! Guests or not, I think I would have to drink some of that caramel sauce straight from a spoon:-) These look fantastic!!!

  30. 30
    Paula - bell'alimento — September 10, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Those would be perfect with my morning cappuccino!

  31. 31
    Tracey — September 10, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Mmmm caramels and apple, is there a better combination for fall? I think not :) These look great Maria!

  32. 32
    janetha — September 10, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    ohhhh i cannot wait to make these!

  33. 33
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — September 10, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    Yup, wonderfully addicting bars! Apple season is upon us and this is a gorgeous and tasty apple treat to kick off the cooler weather!

  34. 34
    TidyMom — September 10, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    I want one NOW with my coffee!!! caramel and apple just scream fall and it’s even chilly here this morning!

  35. 35
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — September 10, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    Mmm salted caramel and apples should get married :)

  36. 36
    Minnie(@thelady8home) — September 10, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    You do know how to come up with mouthwatering recipes every time. :-D

  37. 37
    Whitney L. — September 10, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    High five right back at ya!! Thanks for the shout out, the bars were soooo delish!!!…and I loved baking with you!!

  38. 38
    carrian — September 10, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    I love salted caramel. It’s so heavenly. In fact it’s sounding pretty darned good right now…

  39. 39
    Marla Meridith — September 10, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

    Extra drippy caramel sauce for me please!! These bars look amazing!!

  40. 40
    Lindsey @ Family Food Finds — September 10, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    Wow! This just screams “Fall”. I can’t wait to try these!

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