Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

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For Thanksgiving this year, my dad requested something crunchy, my mom wanted something with cinnamon and my little sister wanted something with apples. To try and please everyone, I decided to try out these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars and they turned out amazing! Salted caramel fans – here’s another recipe to go on your “Must Bake” list.

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Personally, I like using Fuji apples for everything. However, if you prefer something a little less sweet, try using one tart apple (Granny Smith) and one sweet apple (Honey Crisp).

Be generous with drizzling on the salted caramel sauce. I kept some of it to use on a chocolate cheesecake the next day, but if I had made more I would’ve put all of it on the bars – it’s really that good!

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Also, please don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list –  a lot of the ingredients are repeats and if you’ve ever made an apple pie before, I personally feel that this is even easier to bake since you don’t have to worry about prepping both crusts.

I used a slightly modified recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and purchased all of my ingredients from Stater Bros.

Ingredients & Costs:

Shortbread Crust

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted = $1.13
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar = $0.04
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract = $0.10
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt = $0.01
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour = $0.28

Apple Filling

  • 2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick) = $1.42
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour = $0.04
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar = $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon = $0.19

Streusel

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats = $0.13
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar = $0.04
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon = $0.05
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour = $0.07
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed = $0.56

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar = $0.08
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up into small pieces = $0.56
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream = $0.39
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt = $0.02

Grand Total = $5.13

Directions:

Original recipe makes approximately 9-16 bars.

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F degrees. Line an 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Shortbread 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.
  3. Make apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Pan fry on low for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. 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 knives or forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  5. Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350F degrees. 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.
  6. Make salted caramel sauce: Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continuously stir. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter and stir until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes. Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while whisking. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using.
  7. Lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Once cut, pour salted caramel sauce on top. These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm or cold.

The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen up to 3 months – thaw overnight in the fridge, then drizzle with extra salted caramel before serving. Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe.

As always, thank you for reading this blog post and let me know if you try out this recipe! 

Happy Baking,

Cindy

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