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

Banana Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting

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This morning, I found two overripe bananas in my kitchen. Most people would just throw them out, which can definitely become annoying when it’s a regular occurrence. But for bakers, this can actually be a nice little surprise! Even though I usually use overripe bananas to bake banana bread, I decided to switch things up today and make these super moist banana bars and topped them with some brown sugar frosting.
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I was totally expecting the brown sugar frosting to be too sweet. I mean the majority of it is sugar, right? But I was pleasantly surprised! The brown sugar gave it some nice depth and I was really tempted to add some bourbon to give it a little zing. In the end, I decided to stick to the original recipe.
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If I could give you one tip, it would be to stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes after you’ve let it cool at room temperature for 5 minutes or so. I’ve found that this helps keep the bars super moist.
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This is a slightly modified recipe from Cookies & Cups and ingredients were purchased from Stater Bros & Grower’s Direct.

Ingredients & Costs:

Bars

  • ½ cup butter = $1.13
  • 1 cup light brown sugar = $0.11
  • 1 egg = $0.31
  • 1½ tsp vanilla = $0.15
  • ¼ tsp salt = $0.01
  • 1 1/2 cups flour = $0.45
  • 1 cup mashed banana (2 medium bananas) = $0.69

Brown Sugar Frosting

  • ¼ cup butter, cubed = $0.56
  • ½ cup light brown sugar = $0.06
  • 2 Tbsp milk = $0.04
  • 1 cup powdered sugar = $0.40

Grand Total = $3.91

Directions:

Original recipes makes 16 bars

Bars:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8×8 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar.  Add in egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated.
  3. Whisk together salt & flour. Add salt, flour and banana until batter is smooth and even. Spread in prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until center is set. Frost once they are mostly cooled.
Brown Sugar Frosting:
  1. In a medium saucepan melt butter. Add brown sugar and milk and stir until sugar has completely melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk in powdered sugar and add more milk if necessary.
  3. Spread frosting on top of bars and allow it to set completely before cutting into squares.

Store bars in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free leave them in a comment below.  And as always, I’d love to hear how your bars turn out! 🙂

Happy Baking,

Cindy