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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Chocolate Cupcakes With Salted Caramel Frosting

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Happy National Chocolate Cupcake Day! What’s on the dessert menu today? Yep, you got it – some rich, fudgy & moist chocolate cupcakes. And to top ’em off, I added some salted caramel frosting with a light drizzle of caramel sauce. Absolutely delish!

I was originally planning to bake some apple cinnamon cupcakes today, but when I found out that it was going to be National Chocolate Cupcake Day, I knew I just had to share my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe with you guys! I’ve been using this particular recipe ever since I started baking. Even though I’m not usually a fan of box mixes, this one just works and it’s perfect for when you don’t have time to measure out all your dry ingredients. And honestly, most people can’t tell that it’s a “doctored box mix” recipe.

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Fun Fact: There are currently two theories about how cupcakes got their name. One claims that they were baked in cups and the other suggests that the name comes from the recipe, which was measured out by the cup.

Personally, I wouldn’t really care if it was called a bowlcake, cake-in-a-mug or moldcake — I’d still devour them.

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These cupcakes are great for parties and the salted caramel frosting is to-die-for, especially during the Fall.

You can use store-bought salted caramel sauce, but I highly recommend making the salted caramel sauce yourself. The flavor is more intense and of course, it’s much less sugary and artificial.

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My final product ended up being a modified version of Denise’s Too Much Chocolate Cake and the Two Peas’ Salted Caramel Frosting.

I also purchased most of my ingredients from Stater Bros. They always have great sales on their products and their variety of basic baking ingredients is fantastic.

Ingredients & Costs:

Cupcakes

  • 1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix = $1.49
  • 1 (5.9 oz) box Jello Chocolate Fudge instant pudding mix = $0.99
  • 4 large eggs = $1.29
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil = $0.25
  • 1/2 cup milk = $0.28
  • 1/2 cup of warm water = $0.04
  • 1 cup sour cream = $1.79
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips = $1.00

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar = $0.06
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar = $0.08
  • 1 stick or 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces = $1.13
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream = $0.92
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt flakes or table salt = $0.03

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 & 1/2 sticks), at room temperature = $1.69
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar = $1.19
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce

Grand Total = $12.23

Directions:

Original recipes makes 24-28 cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

2. Whisk together the cake mix & pudding mix, then combine the eggs, oil, milk, water and sour cream into the mixture. Beat until well combined and there are minimal lumps. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

3. Scoop the batter evenly into cupcake liners. Each liner should be between 1/2 – 3/4 of the way full.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

1. While the cupcakes are baking, make the salted caramel sauce.  Heat the sugar over medium high-heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. It should reach about 350°F. This is where it is easiest to burn the caramel so make sure to keep an eye on it.

2. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the sea salt flakes or table salt.

4. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then pour into a medium-sized metal bowl. Set aside.

Salted Caramel Frosting:

1. Beat the butter in the bowl until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, and mix until completely incorporated.

2. Add the salted caramel sauce and beat frosting until airy and thoroughly mixed.

3. Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost cupcakes with salted caramel frosting and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.

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

Feel free to like, share or reblog this post and please leave a comment with any questions you may have.  I’d love to hear how your cupcakes turned out and how you celebrated National Chocolate Cupcake Day!

Happy Baking,

Cindy