Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Salted Caramel Apple Bars

It's still snowing here in Tahoe! 

Oy vey.

When the weather outside is frightful (ha...I've got Christmas music on the brain today!) I always have the urge to bake. And even though there is a winter wonderland outside my window, I've still have lots of fall recipes I'm excited to try. One of my favorites that I've made so far this season (and maybe ever) are these moist apple crumb bars topped with creamy salted caramel sauce.



They're good.


I'm strongly considering making another batch this week to use up some of the apples I got this weekend during our trip to Apple Hill. They are definitely a little time-consuming to make as you have to make the sauce and cut up and peel the apples, but they are so completely worth it.

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars 

Recipe Source: Two Peas & Their Pod

Yield: 16 bars Cook Time: 45 minutes 

 Ingredients:

Salted Caramel Sauce:
2 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes

For the Apple Filling:
5 cups peeled and diced apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice

For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Directions:


To make the Salted Caramel Sauce:
1. First, make sure you have all of the ingredients ready. Once you start the caramel sauce you have to pay close attention so you don't burn it. To begin, 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. It will continue to melt. When the sugar is melted, stop whisking. You can swirl the pan to move the sugar around.
2. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. Make sure you watch the pan very closely. This is where it is easy to burn the caramel. You want the caramel to reach 350 degrees F. If you are new to making caramel, I suggest using a thermometer.
3. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.
4. 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 fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes.
5. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large mason jar and cool to room temperature while you make the apple crumb bars. This recipe makes 2 cups of caramel sauce. You can store the leftover caramel sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 
 
To make the Apple Crumb Bars:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. For the apple filling- place the diced apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground all-spice. Pour over the apples and carefully combine. Set aside.
3. For the dough-in a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or by using your hands, until butter is mixed in, but you still have small chunks of butter. Mix the egg and vanilla together. Add into the flour and butter mixture and combine. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan.
4. Spread the apple mixture evenly over the bottom crust. Drizzle about salted caramel sauce over the apple filling, about 3/4 cup. Crumble the remaining dough over the apple caramel layer and pat gently.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the squares and serve.
Note-you won't use all of the salted caramel sauce for this recipe. Store the leftover sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Basically if you make one dessert this fall, this should be it. If you haven't gone to the apple orchard yet this year, these bars are the perfect excuse to make a trip because they seriously taste even better than they look. Trust me.

{PS: I'm linking this recipe up for Tasty Tuesday!}

 

Last but not least, I can't end this post without saying HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY to my sweet baby girl Lola! 


 It's crazy to think this is what she looked like that first day with us back in December 2010: 


 She was such a little peanut.

She was only 8 weeks old and 3lbs when we got her. She was the runt of a litter who was in rough shape and had to wear a little sweater to keep her warm because a lot of her fur hadn't grown in yet. It's amazing how much she's grown since then!

If you've read my blog or for any length of time or follow me on Instagram, you know that I'm pretty much obsessed with her. She is seriously the goofiest, most loving dog and I'm so thankful that she is in our lives. She is the best travel buddy, hiking partner, couch potato, and companion while I'm working from home during the day. Her underbite, giant ears, and silly expressions bring a smile to my face daily, and she's seriously the best dog ever. She has been to more states and landmarks in two years of life than many ever see, and I have no doubt that she's got many more adventures ahead. We love you Lola!! Xoxo

10 comments:

  1. Happy birthday to Lola--she's precious! And oh my gosh, those bars sound incredible! They look delish!

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  2. Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering.

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  3. Oh god I'm crying please just feed me.

    Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOLA!! Toby wants to give you a big hug!

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  4. Wow...my mouth is watering!! I HAVE to make these this weekend! It's not even optional!

    And Happy Birthday to Sweet Lola!! :)

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  5. Awww happy birthday. So adorable! And I will definitely be making those bars. Yum!

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  6. These apple bars look AMAZING! And, happy birthday to your pup. So sweet.

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  7. Must be so delicious.It look great

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  8. Oh my...those things look SO good.

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Your sweet words make my day! :)

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