Caramel Apple Bars

This is another new apple recipe I tried this weekend. They were quite sugary, gooey, & yummy! I served them warm with vanilla ice cream. I think they’d also be good with Cool Whip.

Caramel Apple Bars

Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s recipe

Crust
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup  brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup nut flour*
1 large egg

*Almond (toasted or plain), hazelnut flour (toasted or plain), and pecan meal are all good choices. Or grind 1 cup nuts in a food processor; be sure to stop before the mixture becomes pasty. (I couldn’t find nut flour, so I ground up some almonds in my food processor).

Filling
4 to 5 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 5 cups)
2 T brown sugar
2 T boiled cider, or substitute an additional 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Topping**
1 cup (10 ounces) caramel, from a block, or about 30 caramel candies
2 1/2 T milk or cream
(I used fat free Half and Half)

**Or use our prepared caramel sauce.

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan or 10″ x 10″ bun pan.

To make the crust: Beat together the butter, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, sugars, and vanilla till smooth. Add the flours, mixing till crumbly. Set aside half the mixture (about 3 generous cups); add the egg to the remainder, beating to combine. Press the crust with egg into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 17 minutes, till it’s barely starting to brown around the edges. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.

To make the filling: Slice the apples about 1/4″ thick, then chop into 1/2″ to 3/4″ pieces. An apple peeler/corer/slicer gives you a great head start on this task. Combine the apples with the remaining filling ingredients, and distribute over the crust. Spread the reserved crust mixture over the apples.

Bake the bars for 45 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and after 15 minutes cut them into squares, leaving them in the pan. Cool completely, then place the bars on a rack set over a piece of parchment.

To make the topping: Place the caramel and milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup, and heat till the caramel is very soft. Stir (reheating if necessary) till the mixture is smooth and pourable. Drizzle it over the bars.

Yield: 16 to 24 bars

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