Caramel Apple Bars

Caramel Apple Bars

StreuselWow!  Where did the summer go?  Don’t we all say that?  It really flew right past me this year.  One minute, my daughter was getting out of school… bam!  Now it’s Labor Day weekend!

As the nights get cooler here I start to think of fall, which makes me giddy, and then I think of winter, which makes me sad.  Even though I have simplified life and no longer have a huge driveway to shovel snow off of and have a Subaru, the obligatory Colorado vehicle, I still don’t like winter!

Let’s not think of winter for now.

Let’s celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of my favorite season by enjoying apples this month.

When I think of this time of year I think of Caramel Apples.  It’s funny that my mind would even go there because I don’t like caramel apples.  I think it’s King Arthur Flour’s fault.  Their latest catalog had all kinds of lovely caramel apple treats.  I own a giant hunk of their caramel and so this recipe drew me in!

This post makes me chuckle because as you know most of my posts are inspired by other blogs or cookbooks but then I can’t leave anything well enough alone, so I change the recipe, sometimes drastically.  This time as I was making these bars I was proud of myself for actually sticking to a recipe and not deviating (too much)!  I made these lovely bars and were a little disappointed and went back to read the reviews.  Lesson learned – read the reviews of a recipe online!  If I has read these reviews I would have tweaked it like I always do.

You might be thinking, “Why did you post this recipe if it wasn’t any good?”  I posted it because it is very good, it just could have been better.  Quite honestly, the only thing I would change is to add more apples.

Other bakers online said they would have added less topping.  I disagree.  It’s the right amount of crumb topping to cover the entire pan.  There just weren’t enough apples to allow the topping and the crust to really meld together.  The bars aren’t real sweet so the caramel is key in completing the flavor.

 

Caramel Apple Bars

from King Arthur Flour’s County Fair Caramel Apple Bars

makes 12 bars (the size people really eat)

 

Crust
1 c. unsalted butter
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. almond flour
1 large egg

Filling
5 medium granny smith apples (peeled, cored, chopped) Use 6 or 7 for better flavor
2 T.brown sugar
2 T. apple cider vinegar (recipe called for boiled cider but I didn’t have any)
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. cinnamon

Caramel Topping
10 oz. caramel (I used the block caramel cut into 1 inch chunks)
2 1/2 T. milk (I used 2%)

Apples

Making the crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat the first seven ingredients together until smooth.  Add in the flours and once crumbly, remove half of the mixture to a separate bowl.  Add the egg to the original mixture and beat until combined.  Press the mixture with the egg into a 9 x 13 pan that has been buttered.  Bake the crust for 15 minutes or just until the edges are slightly brown.   While the crust bakes, make the filling.

Completing the bars:

Toss the chopped apples with the remaining filling ingredients and spoon onto the hot baked crust.  Spread the remaining crumble (that didn’t get the egg) on top of the apples.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crumb is slightly brown.

Caramel finale:

Let the pan cool for a few minutes while making the caramel sauce.  In a microwave safe bowl, add the caramel chunks and milk and microwave in 30 second intervals and mix with a spoon until the caramel is just melted.  Drizzle the caramel generously over the pan and let the bars cool completely before cutting.  Or if ready to eat, cut the bars and drizzle the caramel over each serving.

 

 

 

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