Caramel Apple Bars

I really wanted to call these bars Caramel Apple & White Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars

But that was kind of a mouthful.

The bars are a mouthful, too.  In the best possible way, I assure you.

So I left the title as Caramel Apple Bars

In my world, caramel + apples just go together

And so does PB + apples

And let’s face it, white chocolate goes with everything for me

If you’re not a white chocolate fan you’re crazy you can omit the white chocolate chips in this recipe or use another kind of chips like dark or semisweet or peanut butter chips

These bars combine so many of my favorite and just-go-together flavors which is why I was tempted to list each flavor in the title.

While these bars bake, the brown sugar + butter = caramel created

Notice the drinkable caramel sauce drippy caramel sauce at the bottom of the bars, both from the butter and brown sugar and from the addition of caramel sauce on top.  I never said these were low sugar or low fat

But they are gluten free and vegan as long as you make a couple easy adaptations.

The apples soften and get all juicy and bubbly

And the white chocolate and peanut butter melts

Creating bars that taste like caramel apples

I like these bars better than caramel apples because you don’t have to walk around gnawing on a huge piece of fruit that’s wobbly on a stick with caramel sauce all over your face.

Although there are worse problems to have in life than caramel sauce on your chin.

 Like not making any (vegan) peanut butter soft serve ice cream before serving these.  <— I forgot

But it would have been fabulous with them.  Next time.


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Caramel Apple Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

1/2 c applesauce (I used 1 small/medium apple with the peel on that I blended in the Vita)

1/2 c peanut butter

1/4 c butter, softened (or margarine)

2 c oats (whole rolled, not quick cook.  See this post at the bottom for a discussion on oats & gluten)

1 c brown sugar, packed

1/2 c white sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon (reduce/increase to taste, if desired)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 c apples, diced & peeled

3/4 to 1 c white chocolate chips (use vegan white chocolate chips if desired, or regular dark/semisweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, etc.)

1/4 c to 1/2 c caramel sauce (I used ice cream topping caramel sauce or use Dark Rum Caramel Sauce.  There are many vegan caramel sauce recipes online; google and research them if desired)

Optional: Add raisins, dates, dried fruit, nuts, as desired in 1/4 to 1/3 c quantity

Directions: Combine applesauce, PB, butter in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine them.  Then add oats, sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and stir.  Then fold in diced apples and white chocolate chips.  Spread batter (it will be pretty moist) into a foil-lined and spayed 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  The bars may still look underdone, but that’s ok because they will continue to set up as they cool.   They will be bubbling rapidly upon removing them from the oven.  Let the bubbling stop (about 5 minutes) and then carefully drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the bars.  Allow bars to to cool very well before slicing.  I suggest popping them into the freezer for 15-30 minutes if you’re in a hurry.  Store extras on the countertop, refrigerator, or in the freezer for long term storage.

Notes: All measurements are approximate and if you love peanut butter, apples, or caramel, add a bit more.  Reduce the sugar amounts if you wish.  Omit or change the type of chocolate chips used.  Add other spices such as pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, etc. if desired.

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A Visual Guide

Gather your ingredients

Combine applesauce, PB, butter & stir.

Then add the oats, sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and stir.

Add the diced apples & white chocolate chips

Pour mixture into a foil-lined and spayed pan

Bake and allow to stop bubbling.

Then drizzle caramel sauce over the bars.

Allow to cool well before slicing & serving.

The edges on these are actually my favorite part

Chewy with some definite texture as the brown sugar and caramel sauce harden up

The bars are like what I call perfect brownies: chewy edges with soft middles, and dense (not cakey, airy, or light)

I am big on texture and the way it feels when I am chewing it is just as important as taste.  Well, almost as important.

I am digging the translucent apples.  Tender, warm, oven-softened fruit can be so comforting.

And brown sugar makes everything more caramely and chewier and gives baked goods that want-to-sink-your-teeth-into-it texture,  which is always a bonus.

Other bonuses: Gluten Free, Vegan (adaptable), One Bowl, One Pan, No Mixer, Fast Cleanup

Most of all: A hit with the fam

Related posts you may enjoy…

Dark Rum Caramel Sauce

Caramelized Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Chickpea “Peanuts”

Raw Vegan Apple Crumble

3 Ingredient Raw Vegan Caramels

And Nut-Butter Stuffed Caramel Bites

An an entire Apple Recipes Compilation Post

With recipe ideas for what to do with all the apples you have on hand this time of year

But I hope you make these bars first

Questions:

1. What flavors and foods remind you of fall?

For me, apples, caramel, seasonal flavored coffee drinks like homemade pumpkin spice lattes (vegan), roasted foods & veggies, warm soups, and firing up the oven and doing more cooking (rather than uncooking/unbaking) and cold salads mean that fall is here.

But sniff, sniff, I don’t want winter and fall means winter is just around the corner.

2. Do you like caramel as much as I do?  Sweet desserts?

Please say yes to both.  Humor me.

I love them both, very much.

And I am of the mindset that there’s nothing too sweet or too rich

Have a great wrap-up to your weekend and a good start to your week!

P.S. Final reminder that the Case of Odwalla Bars Giveaway ends Monday

   

125 Responses to “Caramel Apple Bars”

  1. #
    51
    Katie — September 27, 2011 at 7:16 am

    These sound great!
    I’m not a fan of white chocolate, but I can eat it when it’s not the MAIN ingredient (LOVE white choc/macadamia nut cookies!).
    I’m thinking butterscotch chips might work here? hmmmm….

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 27th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Yes they sure would. I mentioned in the recipe & post to feel free to substitute other kinds of chips. The white choc is not super pronounced but if you’re just not a fan at all, then yep, use another kind….Butterscotch is a huge fave of mine too :)

      Reply

  2. #
    52
    Elizabeth — September 29, 2011 at 5:12 am

    These look like the perfect fall treat! Can’t wait to try them! =)

    Reply

  3. #
    53
    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — September 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    You make the BEST looking bars, and I absolutely LOVE caramel.

    Reply

  4. #
    54
    Meg @ Sweet Twist — September 30, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I get a lot of free apple these days from a co-worker. These will be the next things I bake with them. Delicious!

    I had to “pin” these.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 30th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      thanks for pinning them.

      I installed a new “pin” button at the bottom of the post a few days ago b/c the other one stopped working. Lmk if that’s what you used and if it worked for you or if you went to Pinterest and pinned directly from there.

      Trying to figure out what’s working for people and what’s not…thanks so much!! :)

      Reply

      • Meg @ Sweet Twist replied: — September 30th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

        I just pinned from my browser… I have the pin button on my toolbar. If I hit that on any webpage it brings up all the pictures and I select which one to pin. I am addicted to pinterest. :-)

  5. #
    55
    Julie — October 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    It’s raining and cold. I’m excited to make these!

    Reply

  6. #
    56
    Val* — November 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Just made these!!!! YUM!!!!! Mine don’t look as chewy and delicious as yours but they taste amazing!!! Great recipe!!! I will be making these again soon!!!!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — November 1st, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      Thanks so much for telling me! Tip: Underbake everything by 10% of the recommended amount. My recipes are already written for those that like things pretty chewy and gooey with most things.

      For photos especially, I underbake by a few mins b/c things appear darker on camera.

      Add some more caramel sauce on top. You’ll be good to go :)

      Reply

  7. #
    57
    Maggie — November 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I’m a long-time lurker with no blog of my own, but I just wanted to tell you that I’ve made many of your recipes over the past couple months and they’ve all been DELICIOUS. The cinnamon roll donuts have won me new friends (ha), your chocolate pb cups lasted for .25 seconds, the chocolate chip cookie dough balls were devoured by my coworkers and these caramel apple bars whipped up so easily and are now tempting me as I (im)patiently wait for them to cool. Thank you for so much deliciousness – keep it coming! :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — November 27th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Maggie, for your comment and support. I really, really appreciate the kind words and the feedback. Makes my day knowing you’ve made so many recipes of mine and are enjoying them…and sharing w/ coworkers, too :)

      Reply

  8. #
    58
    Val* — November 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I’m making these for a bake sale on Thursday!!! They are soo amazing! great recipe!

    Reply

  9. #
    59
    Michelle — January 9, 2012 at 9:59 am

    These were delicious! however I don’t think mine turned out because after I let them set I tried to cut them and they were just too gooey. I almost had to spoon them out. Maybe I’ll use more oats next time. Even though they didn’t turn out they still tasted amazing!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — January 9th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Your apples could have had a higher moisture/water content and thus made the bars mushier and gooier, or the type of PB and/or oats and/or caramel. Just bake a little longer next time or add more oats. Or eat with a spoon :)

      Reply

  10. #
    60
    Ashley — April 19, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Mine are in the oven right now and the batter was certainly delicious so I’m hopeful for the bars! Thanks for the great recipe. :)

    Reply

  11. #
    61
    William Traylor — July 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Wow! These were extreme;y sweet. If I make these again I will make lots of adjustments. 1st of all I would put in a larger baking pan/dish so that bars are thinner.. Very surprised after 35 minutes in the oven (new, temp accurate) the white chocolate chips did not melt. Other changes I would make:
    1. decrease white and brown sugars and by 1/4 cup each.
    2. decrease peanut butter by about 2 tbsp
    3. increase apples to 1/3 cup and dice larger

    Actually I probably won’t make these again but move to try a different dessert.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — July 30th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Like any baking chip, they vary by brand and I wouldn’t say any of mine “melt” and turn into a runny liquid, but they soften. I use TJs, Nestle, or Ghirardhelli white chips. We love PB and sweet desserts around here so they are perfect for us but of course, do what suits you. Thanks for trying them.

      Reply

  12. #
    62
    Minty — September 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Just did them myself today, mine turned out quite crumbly and not chewy, not sure why… But I love all the ingredients in this recipe and will try it again.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — September 28th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      Lots of variables – could be the type of PB used, how much moisture or lack thereof was in your apples, how long you baked them for, how gooey your caramel sauce was – I say cut back slightly on the dry ingredients next time (the oats) and reduce baking time by 5 mins or so or add a bit extra caramel sauce, PB, etc. It’s a very flexible recipe and can be tweaked to your liking. Glad you liked the flavor though!

      Reply

  13. #
    63
    Jolie — July 4, 2013 at 8:54 am

    I see butter in the ingredients list, but I don’t see it in your recipe directions. What do you do with the butter?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 4th, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Reread the first sentence of the directions:
      Directions: Combine applesauce, PB, butter in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine them……

      Reply

  14. #
    64
    Alison Lundqvist — September 12, 2013 at 5:36 am

    These look delicious! I have a question–can I omit the peanut butter? I’m looking for granola bar/healthy-ish snack recipes for my kiddo (he’s three) for school, but there’s a girl in his class who’s allergic to nuts, so I’m a bit afraid to send anything with him that contains nuts. Do you happen to have experience with making your own sunflower seed butter (I live in Belgium and I don’t think it’s readily available here)? Is that something that can more or less be used as a substitute to peanut butter in granola bar (and the like) recipes? Sorry, lots of questions… Thanks in advance! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 12th, 2013 at 9:15 am

      Just make these http://www.averiecooks.com/2012/10/sunflower-seed-butter-granola-bars-with-chocolate-drizzle.html

      If you still want to make the Caramel Apple Bars, you could likely use SFSButter in that recipe – but it’s not a universal swap for PB. In those bars, it should be fine, but not always – so don’t assume that it is or for others who read this comment.

      Making SFSB – yes same as making PB but process longer, about 15 mins. http://www.averiecooks.com/2012/07/homemade-peanut-butter.html

      Reply

      • Alison replied: — September 12th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

        Thanks so much! I will try the sunflower seed butter granola bars after attempting to make sunflower seed butter. I have made homemade peanut butter (inspired by your recipe) and it was really delicious! Good to know it’s easy enough to make. And good to know that it’s not always swap-able for peanut butter.

        I have to say that I really enjoy reading your blog–I read maybe five or so blogs daily and yours is at the top of my list! :) I will keep reading and keep baking your lovely recipes! Thank you!!

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 12th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

          Thanks for reading and glad I’m at the top of your list :)

  15. #
    65
    jana devore — November 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Can you facebook me the calorie count, serving size, Ndhow many servings this is

    Reply

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