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

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

Yield: 16 bars

Cook Time: 45 minutes

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.

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Categories: Bars Desserts Josh's Favorites