Apple crisp is a go-to dessert in my family. Through the years, countless pans of apple crisp have graced the homes of family, neighbors, and friends with the familiar fragrance of spiced apples and buttery oatmeal topping. Although these caramel apple bars are slightly more portable, the spirit of fall comfort remains.
A buttery, brown sugar crust and crumble topping envelop a layer of tender apples and rich salted caramel sauce in these irresistible bars. While apple crisp is always served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, I opted for an extra drizzle of salted caramel sauce (but I’d never object to both!).
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
Crust and Crumble
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups diced apples
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
- For the sauce, combine brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until butter has melted completely. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and sea salt until smooth. Pour sauce into a glass measuring cup and set aside to cool while proceeding.
- For the bars, preheat oven to 350°F and line a 7 x 11-inch baking dish with foil. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Fold in melted butter and vanilla until combined. Reserve 1 cup crumble; add remaining crumble to prepared baking dish and use a piece of waxed paper to press into an even layer. Bake for 14 minutes, until edges are lightly golden. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
- Toss apples with lemon juice cinnamon, and arrowroot starch; layer over baked crust. Drizzle apples with salted caramel sauce (reserve 3 tablespoons sauce for serving) and top with reserved crumble. Return baking dish to oven and bake another 30 to 35 minutes, until top is golden and filling is bubbling.
- Cool completely in baking dish on a wire rack, at least 3 hours. Just before cutting, chill baking dish in the freezer for 10 minutes. Carefully lift foil to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board; cut into squares with a sharp knife. Drizzle bars with remaining caramel sauce and serve. Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.
Apples: I used a blend of Fuji, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious apples.
- Calories: 260
- Carbohydrates: 38