- crisp & gooey -
These salted caramel apple pie bars have a crisp brown sugar shortbread base, gooey caramel apple filling, a crisp crumble topping, and smothered in salted caramel sauce.
– Caramel: Everything you need to know to make a successful salted caramel sauce. – Apple filling: The apples are tossed with salted caramel sauce! – Crisp shortbread: The base and crumble are made of the same brown sugar shortbread recipe so you don’t have to make a separate crumble!
Pre-baking the shortbread crust helps keep it extra crisp, even when topped with the caramel apple filling. You can use a store-bought caramel sauce for a shortcut if you like!
what you will need:
– 4 tablespoons butter – ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream – 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract – ½ teaspoon sea salt – 1 cup granulated sugar – ¾ cup butter, softened – ½ cup brown sugar, packed – ¼ teaspoon sea salt – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – 2 cups all purpose flour (240g) – 1 teaspoon cinnamon ground – ½ teaspoon baking powder – 3 tablespoons milk – ¼ cup pecans chopped and raw – 5 medium-large apples – 1 tablespoon brown sugar – 4 tablespoons salted caramel – 2 tablespoons all purpose flour – ½ teaspoon cinnamon ground – 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salted Caramel Sauce
Make a dry caramel by heating the sugar on medium low heat until fully melted, stirring constantly. It will start off by looking clumpy like this, keep stirring so it doesn't burn.
As soon as it is completely melted and golden, take it off the heat. Do not continue to cook it because it will burn.
Pour heated cream, butter, vanilla, and salt into the sugar gradually. Whisk well (carefully) to combine and heat again for 1 minute before pouring into a heat safe container to cool.
Beat the butter, salt, and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract.
Sift the dry ingredients in and fold to make a very dry dough. Add the milk and fold.
Press 3/4 of the dough into a lined 8″ or 9″ square pan smooth it out. Poke with a fork and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
While the crust bakes, peel and slice the apples into a large bowl. You want a hard and tart apple variety like Northern Spy or Granny Smith. Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the bowl.
Mix filling together and set aside while the crust bakes.
As soon as the crust is baked or whenever you're ready, top the crust with the filling. Spread to an even layer.
Crumble remaining shortbread mixture on top and top with chopped nuts. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until you can see the filling bubble on the edges.
Let cool completely and cut into 9 squares. Drizzle with more salted caramel sauce and sprinkle with flaky salt (optional).
The best apple pie bars for fall or Thanksgiving! It's easier to make, cut and serve than a traditional apple pie.
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