If you follow The Birch Cottage on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been experimenting with Salted Caramel Sauce. There are many ways to make Salted Caramel Sauce. But, I wanted to try the original dry salted caramel recipe. Although I’ve made caramel sauce numerous times throughout the years, I have never tried to make it by literally melting sugar using the dry method. I found this recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars and Salted Caramel Sauce on Sally’s Baking Addiction. I just had to give it a try! And, I am sooo glad I did!
Besides, I was on a quest to find the best recipes for my new found love of Honeycrisp Apples. These Apple Pie Bars with Salted Caramel Sauce fit the bill perfectly. The first part of the recipe is this incredibly buttery yummy shortbread crust. The second layer consists of apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. The third layer is the streusel: oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, flour and butter. Perfect streusel, I might add. And the fourth and final layer? Salted. Caramel. Sauce. THE grand finale!
Once you try this recipe, you’ll be making multiple batches in a week just like Sally and I both did! If you love apple pie, you’ll love these bars and – are you ready for this – they’re much easier to make than apple pie!
I love apple pie, but these bars – my new favorite! Wanna hear something else about these bars? You can freeze them. Simply bake the bars and before you drizzle on that caramel sauce, place them in the freezer. I placed my bars on a small cookie sheet and once they were frozen (a couple of hours), I transferred them to freezer bags. I’m not sure why I froze the bars, they won’t last long in the freezer.
- SHORTBREAD CRUST
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
- APPLE FILLING
- 2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (40g) old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup (70g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling and streusel.
- Make the apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
- Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
- Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C). Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. It will look like there are too many apple slices, so layer them tightly and press them down to fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars. Once cut, drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top of each. These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even cold.
- Make ahead tip: The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and drizzling with caramel.
If I haven’t convinced you yet to try these Apple Pie Bars, let me tell you about the Caramel Sauce. My Lenny said the final batch I made (I made three – scorched the first batch, won’t even talk about the second batch and perfection with the third) was the smoothest and best tasting caramel sauce he’s ever tasted. I concur!
This recipe can be, and you’ll probably want to, double the recipe. It’s simply that good! Promise. In fact, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say this is the best new recipe I’ve tried in a long time! So what are you waiting for? Go make some Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars!
Til next time…