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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Recipe

This delicious recipe for salted caramel apple pie bars combines the sweetness of ripe apples, the richness of a shortbread crust, and the decadence of homemade salted caramel. It's a combination of taste and texture that creates an irresistible treat perfect for any occasion.

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Photos of Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Recipe

While most ingredients are common household staples, two items that might require a trip to the supermarket are old-fashioned oats and salted caramel sauce. While quick oats can be used in a pinch, old-fashioned oats provide a better texture for the streusel topping. As for the salted caramel sauce, you have the option to make it at home or purchase a pre-made version for convenience.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Ingredients

Unsalted butter: Used in both the crust and the streusel, the unsalted butter adds richness and a creamy texture.

Granulated sugar: It sweetens both the crust and the apple filling.

Vanilla extract: Adds a depth of flavor to the shortbread crust.

All-purpose flour: This is used to structure the crust and thicken the apple filling.

Apples: The star of the show, offering a natural sweetness and a bit of tartness.

Ground cinnamon: Brings warmth and depth to the apple filling and streusel.

Ground nutmeg: Complements the cinnamon in the apple filling for a classic pie-like taste.

Old-fashioned oats: Creates a hearty, chewy texture in the streusel topping.

Light brown sugar: Used in the streusel, it provides a deep, molasses-like sweetness.

Salted caramel sauce: Drizzled over the top of the bars for a final touch of sweetness and complexity.

One reader, Dilly Lor says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

These salted caramel apple pie bars are a game-changer! The combination of buttery shortbread, sweet apple filling, and the drizzle of salted caramel is pure perfection. The flavors are so well-balanced, and the texture is divine. I can't get enough of these heavenly bars!

Dilly Lor

Key Techniques for Making Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

How to prepare the shortbread crust: Melt the butter and mix it with granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt. Then add the flour and stir until combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan and bake for 15 minutes.

How to make the apple filling: Combine sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until the apples are evenly coated. Set aside for use in the recipe.

How to make the streusel topping: Whisk together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or forks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside for use in the recipe.

How to drizzle with salted caramel sauce: Once the bars are cut, drizzle salted caramel sauce on top of each bar before serving.

How To Make Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Have a delightful bite of these easy-to-make apple pie bars which offer a twist to the classic apple pie, drizzled with a homemade salted caramel glaze!

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total: 3 hours 10 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

For Shortbread Crust:

  • ½cupunsalted butter,melted
  • ¼cupgranulated sugar
  • 1tsppure vanilla extract
  • ¼tspsalt
  • 1cupall-purpose flour,spoon and leveled

For Apple Filling:

  • 2large apples,peeled, thinly sliced, ¼-inch thick
  • 2tbspall-purpose flour
  • 2tbspgranulated sugar
  • 1tspground cinnamon
  • tspground nutmeg

For Streusel:

  • ½cupold-fashioned oats
  • cuplight brown sugar,or dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼tspcinnamon,ground
  • ¼cupall-purpose flour,spoon and leveled
  • ¼cupunsalted butter,cold, cubed
  • *salted caramel sauce,(see Recipe Notes for recipe)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.

Crust:

  1. Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined.

  2. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan.

  3. Bake for 15 minutes.

Apple Filling:

  1. Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.

Streusel:

  1. Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

  2. Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350 degrees F.

  3. Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust; layering them tightly and press them down to fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel.

  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown.

  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  6. Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Cut them into 16 smaller bars, or into 12 larger bars. 

  7. Once cut, drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top of each. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • *Check out this Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe to go with these bars!
  • Make-Ahead and Freezing Instructions: The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. The bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and drizzling with caramel.
  • These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even cold.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 170.13kcal
  • Fat: 8.96g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.52g
  • Trans Fat: 0.35g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2.30g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.44g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.61g
  • Fiber: 1.31g
  • Sugar: 10.61g
  • Protein: 1.63g
  • Cholesterol: 22.88mg
  • Sodium: 39.01mg
  • Calcium: 11.69mg
  • Potassium: 58.27mg
  • Iron: 0.69mg
  • Vitamin A: 73.65µg
  • Vitamin C: 1.29mg

Expert Technique Tip for Perfect Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

When making the streusel for these salted caramel apple pie bars, it's important to ensure the butter is chilled before cutting it into the mixture. This helps to create a crumbly texture. If the butter is too warm, the streusel can become too doughy. Also, when layering the apples on the crust, make sure to pack them tightly. This not only allows you to fit more apples, but also helps to create a more solid and flavorful filling.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Recipe

Prepare the crust: Use a food processor to quickly mix the crust ingredients until they form a dough, saving time and effort.

Use pre-made caramel sauce: Opt for store-bought salted caramel sauce to save time, or make it in advance and store it in the refrigerator.

Chill the crust while preparing the filling: While the crust is baking, prepare the apple filling to maximize efficiency.

Use a mandoline slicer: Slice the apples quickly and uniformly using a mandoline slicer for even cooking and a beautiful presentation.

Bake the crust and streusel simultaneously: While the crust is baking, prepare the streusel topping to save time in the kitchen.

Make ahead: Prepare the bars a day in advance to allow ample time for chilling and setting, making them ready to serve when needed.

Substitute Ingredients For Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Recipe

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with coconut oil: Coconut oil can provide a similar richness and flavor to the crust while also adding a hint of coconut flavor.

  • granulated sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can add a natural sweetness and moisture to the crust, enhancing its flavor and texture.

  • all-purpose flour - Substitute with almond flour: Almond flour can add a nutty flavor and a slightly denser texture to the crust, providing a unique twist to the recipe.

  • apples - Substitute with pears: Pears can offer a similar sweet and juicy texture to the filling, complementing the other flavors in the recipe.

  • ground cinnamon - Substitute with pumpkin pie spice: Pumpkin pie spice can provide a blend of warm spices, adding depth and complexity to the filling.

  • light brown sugar - Substitute with maple syrup: Maple syrup can bring a rich, caramel-like sweetness to the streusel, enhancing its flavor and aroma.

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with ghee: Ghee can provide a rich, nutty flavor to the streusel while also adding a hint of caramelization.

Presentation Ideas for Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

  1. Elevate the shortbread crust: Instead of traditional bars, consider shaping the shortbread crust into individual tartlets for a more elegant presentation. This will add a touch of sophistication to the dish.

  2. Artfully arrange the apple filling: Instead of simply layering the apples, consider arranging them in a decorative pattern on top of the crust. This will showcase the beauty of the apples and add visual appeal to the dish.

  3. Create a stunning streusel topping: Instead of a traditional streusel, consider shaping the topping into delicate crumbles and scattering them artistically on top of the apple filling. This will add a touch of artistry to the dessert.

  4. Drizzle with a delicate salted caramel sauce: Instead of simply drizzling the salted caramel sauce, consider using a squeeze bottle to create intricate designs on the bars. This will add a professional touch and elevate the overall presentation.

  5. Garnish with edible flowers: Consider garnishing the bars with delicate edible flowers such as micro orchids or pansies. This will add a pop of color and a touch of elegance to the dessert.

  6. Serve on individual dessert plates: Instead of serving the bars directly from the baking pan, consider plating each bar on a beautiful individual dessert plate. This will create a more refined presentation for the dish.

  7. Accompany with a quenelle of vanilla bean ice cream: For an extra touch of luxury, consider serving each bar with a quenelle of vanilla bean ice cream on the side. This will add a creamy and indulgent element to the dessert.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Apple Pie Bars

  • Oven: Used for baking and cooking the pie bars.
  • 8-inch square baking pan: Used to bake the pie bars.
  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper: Used to line the baking pan to prevent sticking.
  • Medium bowl: Used for mixing the shortbread crust ingredients.
  • Large bowl: Used for mixing the apple filling ingredients.
  • Pastry blender or 2 forks: Used to cut in the butter for the streusel.
  • Knife: Used for slicing the apples.
  • Whisk: Used for mixing the streusel ingredients.
  • Mixing spoon: Used for stirring and combining ingredients.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Used for accurately measuring the ingredients.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

  • These salted caramel apple pie bars can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Simply cover the bars tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out.
  • If you want to freeze these delectable treats, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • To thaw, simply remove the desired number of bars from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for about an hour. If you prefer them slightly warmed, you can microwave them for a few seconds before serving.
  • For optimal flavor and texture, it's best to drizzle the salted caramel sauce over the bars just before serving. This will prevent the caramel from absorbing into the shortbread crust and becoming too soft.
  • If you find yourself with leftovers (which is highly unlikely!), you can easily refresh them by placing them in a preheated 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes. This will help crisp up the crust and warm the apple filling and streusel topping.

How To Reheat Leftover Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

  • The best way to reheat leftover salted caramel apple pie bars is to preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the bars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and warm them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until they're heated through and the streusel topping is crisp again. This method helps to restore the texture of the shortbread crust and the apple filling.

  • If you're in a hurry, you can also reheat the bars in the microwave. Place a single bar on a microwave-safe plate and heat it on high power for 15-20 seconds. If it's not warm enough, continue heating in 5-second intervals until it reaches your desired temperature. Keep in mind that microwaving may cause the crust to soften slightly.

  • For a quicker and more convenient option, you can reheat the apple pie bars in an air fryer. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and place the bars in the basket, ensuring they're not touching each other. Heat for 3-5 minutes, or until warmed through and the topping is crispy. This method is perfect for achieving a crispy exterior while maintaining a soft and gooey center.

  • If you want to enjoy a warm and gooey salted caramel apple pie bar without any appliances, you can simply let it come to room temperature on its own. This method works well if you prefer a softer texture and don't mind waiting a bit longer. Just remove the bar from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for about 20-30 minutes before indulging in its deliciousness.

Interesting Trivia About Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

The apple pie bars are a delightful treat that combines the flavors of sweet caramel, tart apples, and buttery crust. They are perfect for serving at gatherings or as a special dessert.

Is Making Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this salted caramel apple pie bars recipe is moderate. While the ingredients are fairly common and affordable, the use of apples and caramel sauce may slightly elevate the cost. However, the yield of 16 bars makes it suitable for a household. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $12-$15. Overall Verdict: 8.

Are Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Healthy or Unhealthy?

The salted caramel apple pie bars recipe, while undeniably delicious, is not particularly healthy. Here's why:

  • The shortbread crust is made with butter, sugar, and all-purpose flour, which are high in saturated fat, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates.
  • The apple filling, although containing fruit, is combined with more sugar and flour, increasing the overall carbohydrate and sugar content.
  • The streusel topping is made with oats, brown sugar, butter, and flour, adding more saturated fat, sugar, and carbohydrates to the dish.
  • The salted caramel sauce drizzled on top further increases the sugar and calorie content of the bars.

While this recipe is meant to be an indulgent treat and can be enjoyed in moderation, there are several ways to make it healthier without compromising on taste.

  • Replace half of the all-purpose flour in the crust and streusel with whole wheat flour or almond flour for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in the crust, filling, and streusel by 25-50%, or substitute with natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
  • Use a smaller amount of butter in the crust and streusel, or replace some of it with healthier alternatives like Greek yogurt or coconut oil.
  • Increase the amount of apples in the filling to boost the fiber and nutrient content, and reduce the amount of flour and sugar accordingly.
  • Drizzle the bars with a smaller amount of salted caramel sauce, or opt for a lighter topping like a sprinkle of cinnamon or a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Editor's Opinion on Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

The combination of buttery shortbread crust, spiced apple filling, and crunchy streusel topping in these salted caramel apple pie bars creates a delightful symphony of flavors and textures. The balance of sweetness and saltiness from the caramel sauce elevates the bars to a whole new level of indulgence. The recipe is well-structured and easy to follow, making it accessible for home bakers. These bars are perfect for any occasion, from casual gatherings to elegant dinner parties. Overall, this recipe is a winner and is sure to impress anyone who tries it.

Enhance Your Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Create a savory and creamy roasted garlic mashed potatoes to complement the sweetness of the salted caramel apple pie bars.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Add a touch of freshness and brightness with grilled asparagus topped with lemon zest to balance out the richness of the dessert.
Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts: Serve balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts for a tangy and slightly sweet side that contrasts the flavors of the apple pie bars.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Prepare honey glazed carrots for a naturally sweet and vibrant side dish that pairs well with the salted caramel apple pie bars.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This creamy tomato basil soup is the perfect comfort food for a chilly day. The combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and cream creates a rich and flavorful soup that will warm you up from the inside out.
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts: These garlic parmesan roasted brussels sprouts are a delicious and healthy side dish that pairs perfectly with any main course. The brussels sprouts are roasted to perfection, then tossed in a savory garlic parmesan sauce that will have you coming back for seconds.
Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon: This honey mustard glazed salmon is a simple yet elegant dish that is perfect for a special occasion or a weeknight dinner. The combination of sweet honey and tangy mustard creates a flavorful glaze that pairs perfectly with the tender, flaky salmon.

Appetizers and Main Dishes to Serve with This Recipe

Appetizers:
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Combine creamy spinach and artichoke dip with crispy tortilla chips for a perfect appetizer that will leave your guests wanting more. The creamy, cheesy dip pairs perfectly with the crunchy chips, creating a delightful texture and flavor combination.
Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are filled with a delicious mixture of breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs, creating a flavorful bite-sized appetizer that is sure to impress. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms pairs perfectly with the rich and savory filling, making it a crowd-pleasing option for any gathering.
Main Courses:
Grilled Salmon: Impress your guests with a perfectly grilled salmon fillet, seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices for a burst of flavor. Serve it with a side of roasted vegetables for a healthy and satisfying meal.
Stuffed Bell Peppers: Create a colorful and delicious dish by stuffing bell peppers with a savory mixture of ground meat, rice, and aromatic herbs. Bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is cooked to perfection. Serve with a dollop of creamy yogurt sauce for a delightful combination of flavors.

Why trust this Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a delectable treat with its buttery shortbread crust, cinnamon-spiced apple filling, and crispy streusel topping. The combination of sweet and tart apples with warm spices creates a symphony of flavors. The salted caramel sauce adds a luxurious touch, elevating the bars to a whole new level of indulgence. With meticulous instructions and carefully selected ingredients, this recipe promises a delightful dessert experience that will surely impress your taste buds. Trust in the expertise and passion behind this recipe for a truly unforgettable dessert delight.

Share your thoughts on the Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section and let us know how yours turned out!
FAQ:
Can I use salted butter for the shortbread crust?
Yes, you can use salted butter for the shortbread crust. Just be mindful of the salt content and adjust the additional salt in the recipe if needed.
Can I use a different type of apple for the filling?
Absolutely! You can use your favorite type of apple for the filling. Just keep in mind that different apples have different levels of sweetness and tartness, which can affect the overall flavor of the bars.
Can I make the bars ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the bars ahead of time. In fact, they taste even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld together. Just store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze the bars?
Yes, you can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Just be sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw them in the refrigerator before serving.
Can I use store-bought caramel sauce?
Certainly! You can use store-bought caramel sauce if you're short on time. However, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend making your own salted caramel sauce for that extra special touch.

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