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Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Dessert bars are all the rave this year. I knew I had to bake a sweet dessert that everyone would love. With Thanksgiving being a couple weeks away, I needed to bake a fall dessert before the big day. I had a lot of fresh apples from the local farms near by and wanted make a dessert out of them. These dessert bars can be made without caramel but they are delectable with the caramel topping and shortbread crust! This would make a nice additional to the traditional pumpkin and pecan pie at Thanksgiving.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 48 bars



  • 3 sticks unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)—peeled, Cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg - optional
  • 1 cup water , as necessary


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats or half old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Caramel

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar , packed
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup



  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 15x17 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium/large mixing bowl fitted an electric mixer and paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until incorporated to light and fluffy. At low speed, beat in the flour, baking powder and salt until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to cookie sheet and press the dough over the bottom of the sheet and 1/2 inch up the side. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden. Let cool on a rack.


  • Divide the butter and light brown sugar into 2 skillets (3 tablespoons and 1/4 cup light brown sugar each). Add the apples to the skillets and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Mix half of the cinnamon and nutmeg into each skillet and stir. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillets. Add up to 1/2 cup of water to each pan to prevent scorching. Let sit and cool while moving onto the next step.


  • In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter using a Pastry Blender. Mix and toss until mixture is coarse meal and press the mixture into clumps. Set aside.


  • Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer trying not to disturb the layers below. Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Remove from the oven to allow to cool. Set aside and in the meantime, make caramel topping.


  • In a large sauce pan, heat cream and butter over medium heat just until the butter is melted. Give it a stir and take it off of the heat. Attach a Candy Thermometer to a 2 quart or larger pot (this is very important, make sure to use this size). Mix in sugars, corn syrup and water in pot to combine. Cook over medium-high heat until temperature reaches 240 degrees. Stir every now and then until it reaches desired temperature. Turn off the heat and combine the cream/butter mixture to pan. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches back up to 240º. Remove from heat and stir for approximately one minute.
  • Garnish with powdered sugar before caramel and after - optional
  • Drizzle mixture over baked bars. Garnish with powdered sugar if desired. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serve.


!* Garnish with powdered sugar before caramel and after - optional
!* In an air tight container, store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days. These can also be stored in an air tight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
!* Using quick cooking oats gives a smoother texture to the bars. Using old-fashioned oats will result in the same taste but the bars will be fuller and chewier.