Caramel Apple Bars are the best ever easy fall dessert! Crumbly, chewy oat cookie crust and streusel surround sweet apple pie and buttery caramel filling.
CARAMEL APPLE BARS
Is there any fruit that says fall more than a crisp, juicy apple? From Caramel Apples to warm Apple Pie to a raw classic lunchbox snack, this versatile fruit is both healthy and delicious any way you serve it. And with these easy Caramel Apple Pie Bars, you can have all three treats at once!
The next time you are need a quick apple dessert, you need to try these Caramel Apple Bars! They are made with common pantry ingredients and any apples you have on hand. You’ll have these apple pie bars in and out of the oven, ready to eat, in an hour total time.
These tasty Caramel Apple Bars take all the flavors you love in apple pie and add a surprise layer of chewy, gooey caramel. One bite and you may never make a regular pie again. Did we mention they are crowd sized? They are the perfect fall dessert for parties, potlucks, bake sales, or pie on the go.
What kind of Apples do you use?
You can use any tart, firm baking apples that you use in other apple desserts. Granny Smith are a popular choice, but you can also use Golden Delicious, Jonagold, or sweet Honeycrisp Apples. This Caramel Apple Pie Bar recipe cuts peeled apples in chunks but try them sliced thin with skin for a pretty, layered look.
Caramel Apple Bars are so simple, with the crust and streusel topping made in at once in a large bowl in just minutes. The apple filling is just peeled apples tossed in flour and cinnamon, and that caramel layer is made in the microwave! It’s basically the world’s easiest (and tastiest) apple pie that kids can help make.
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How to Serve these bars:
Caramel Apple Pie bars are sweet and chewy and delicious, especially warm and fresh from the oven. Let them cool before cutting so they don’t ooze out, or scoop the hot Apple Pie Bars like a cobbler and serve with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream. For extra caramely goodness, drizzle your bars with Salted Caramel Sauce before serving.
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VARIATIONS ON CARAMEL APPLE BARS
- Fruit: You can use other fruit or berries instead of apples, or try a mixture of berries and apples. Blueberries, peaches, plums, or raspberries would all taste yummy in these bars!
- Nuts: Instead of pecans, you can use almonds or walnuts. For extra nutty crunch, sprinkle larger chopped nuts over the streusel before baking.
- Apple Cider: Add a tablespoon of apple cider when melting the caramel or toss the apples in apple cider for more fall flavor.
- Spices: In addition to cinnamon, add a teaspoon of nutmeg, ground clove, or cardamom. You could also replace the cinnamon with a tablespoon apple pie spice or Pumpkin Pie Spice.
- Caramel: Skip making melted caramel sauce and use store bought caramel apple dip or caramel ice cream topping instead.
- Shortbread Crust: For a more old-fashioned taste, make a shortbread crust by replacing the brown sugar with ½ cup white sugar and adding a teaspoon vanilla, and no rolled oats. Use part of the crust as a topping, or make a streusel with brown sugar, flour, oats, and melted butter.
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HOW TO STORE CARAMEL APPLE BARS
- Serve: Caramel Apple Bars can be at room temperature for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Line the container with paper towels to absorb moisture.
- Store: Refrigerate Caramel Apple Pie Bars for up to 1 week in a paper towel lined container. Bring to room temperature to soften the caramel before serving.
- Freeze: Cut cooled bars before storing in a sealed container, with parchment paper between layers. Freeze Caramel Apple Bars for up to 6 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator to serve.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup pecans , finely chopped
- 4 cups granny smith apples (about 4 apples) , cored
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 11 ounces wrapped soft caramels , unwrapped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking pan with baking spray.
- Add butter and brown sugar to your stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Sift together flour, salt and baking soda then add into stand mixer on lowest speed setting.
- Add in oats and pecans until just combined.
- Remove two cups of the crumb mixture and set aside.
- Press the remaining mixture into the baking pan and press down gently.
- Toss apples with flour and cinnamon and add to the crust.
- Add caramels and butter to a medium microwave safe bowl and microwave on half power in 30 second increments until smooth.
- Drizzle the caramel sauce over the apple mixture.
- Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the caramel sauce.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crisp.
- Let cool completely before slicing.