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.


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.



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


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

127 Responses to “Caramel Apple Bars”

  1. Betsy — September 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm (#

    Oh Averie, those look so yummy. I’d have to swap the chips for chocolate (because I just don’t like white chocolate – no judgement!!) But, oh-la-la. Great recipe.
    1. Foods that remind me of fall: love all varieties of winter squash – spaghetti, acorn, butternut, delicata. Not such a pumpkin fan (though I love homemade toasted pumpkin seeds!)
    2. I’m not a sweet fanatic, more of a savory/salty girl. Love salt, and it doesn’t make me bloat one bit. I do enjoy caramel on apples, and any apple dessert for that matter, as long as it’s not too sweet!
    Hope you had a fantastic weekend.


  2. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — September 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm (#

    These definitely look like they give caramel apples a run for their money. Agreed about the wobbly stick part, definitely the most annoying part about eating a caramel apple!
    Perfect recipe for the first week of fall :)


  3. Kate — September 25, 2011 at 2:11 pm (#

    these look fabulous they remind me of my favorite caramel apple pops as a child!


  4. Brooks J. Young — September 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm (#

    OMG! I have to try these. Love your creativity :)


  5. Deborah — September 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm (#

    OH my goodness, these look so delicious!! Apple definitely makes me think of fall, along with pumpkin. And I am a total caramel addict!!


  6. Heather (Where's the Beach) — September 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm (#

    Oh those look so awesomely ooie gooey!!


  7. Tracy @ Commit to Fit — September 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm (#

    This look divine! A perfect treat for the Fall :)


  8. Kathryn — September 25, 2011 at 2:37 pm (#

    The combination of apple and caramel is just perfect and the texture of these bars looks so good.


  9. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan — September 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm (#

    Wowie, you outdid yourself with this one, m’dear. These are going on my to-make list!


  10. Bev Weidner — September 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm (#

    Dear babies. I have gone blind at the greatness.


  11. Ela — September 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm (#

    Sounds yummy, sweeter than anything I’ve eaten in a while! I just posted an apple bar recipe too, but opposite end of the spectrum (‘healthified’ lol)–I love the idea of pb and white choc pieces together, and agree, the texture would be fantastic.

    Fall: apples for sure, also pumpkins, and my favorite persimmons.


  12. Erica — September 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm (#

    oh my! yum yum!! Do you ever have bar recipe fails? Yours always look like winners! Fall flavors? Pumpkin, cinnamon, squash, apples, sweet potato! Your daughter is looking so grown up!


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 25th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      Well after putting tons of PB, sugar, and choc chips of some variety in a bowl and mixing it up, I am extremely determined to NOT have a fail and waste all those ingredients. So I keep adding things til I am pretty sure of success and then bake it and hope :)


  13. Jess — September 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm (#

    These pictures are amazing! Love every single one of them. And the bars don’t look so bad, either ;)

    Apples, pumpkin, cinnamon – those sorts of flavors – remind me of fall. I love it!


  14. Michaela — September 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm (#

    these look absolutely divine!!!!!!!
    Averie, I am reading your blog for a while now, and with every post I am astonished to see what a great photographer you have become.
    (And I love your mixing bowl ;))


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 25th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks, Michaela, for reading and the kind words and for all your lovely comments you always leave for me :)

      the mixing bowl pics were taken at night when I was baking but the other pics were taken during daylight.


      • Michaela replied: — September 25th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

        You are SO welcome :)
        Thank you for keeping up such a great blog.

        you can definitely tell the difference ;)

  15. Ali — September 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm (#

    desserts are supposed to be sweet. I do not understand those who think that things can be to sweet, or are put off when a dessert is sweet. That is point!! I think these look so amazing. I bet you could use coconut butter instead of the butter or margarine! Haha, they really look dense, and that is AWESOME.


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 25th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      I like the way you think:
      “I do not understand those who think that things can be to sweet, or are put off when a dessert is sweet. That is point!!”


      and yes, I bet you could use coconut butter/oil but I wanted to keep these non-coconutty


  16. cathy — September 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm (#

    wow, what a recipe, averie!! these definitely have a fall vibe to them. i agree: apples, caramel -> fall flavours.
    i think i’ve only had one caramel apple in my life: i was three and my dad took me to the circus. i have vague memories of clutching that apple on the stick!
    i’m not such a huge caramel fan…but i adore pb!
    i always love seeing photos of *my* green speckled bowl! (cuz you’re going to send it to me when you tire of it, right?!)
    have a great eve!


  17. Paige @ Running Around Normal — September 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm (#

    whoa Averie Skylar looks JUST like you in that picture (gorgeous)!!


  18. Bria @ West of Persia — September 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm (#

    These look fabulous. I might make them to serve at my next Yoga retreat, especially since we have an apple picking outing planned for part of the weekend. :-)


  19. Pure2raw twins — September 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm (#

    these perfect!! so much better than store bough caramel apples, which I love, haha


  20. Erika - The Teenage Taste — September 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm (#

    This look amazing! I love how gooey-ness factor! YUM!


  21. Sweet and Savvy — September 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm (#

    Oh my.. these look and sound delicious! I will definitely be trying out this recipe!


  22. Anna @ On Anna's Plate — September 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm (#

    These look so good!!! And I just bought a TON of apples– I found the honeycrisps :-)


  23. Jane — September 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm (#

    Oh.My.God!!! I am going to rearrange my afternoon to make these. They look absolutely delicious.
    And your photography is looking awsome :)


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 26th, 2011 at 4:57 am

      rearranging your afternoon? well keep me posted if you do make them!


      • Jane replied: — September 26th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

        Yup! I did it. What’s a bit of paperwork compared to caramel? I think I put too much apple in mine as it was quite lumpy. But still really yummy. Half went into the freezer and half…. went (husband and daughter and mostly me!).

        • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 27th, 2011 at 4:01 am

          Glad to hear you made them! And there is really no “wrong” way to make these; i.e. more or less apples, applesauce, oats, lumps or bumps…it’s all good :)

  24. Mai — September 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm (#

    Yumm. These look mouthwatering.


  25. Katie — September 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm (#

    Where to begin with this post. First of all, I love caramel apple flavored stuff, but I HATE caramel apples; the ratio of caramel to apple is always off – you get too much caramel with the first bites, and not enough at the end. Then there’s the dip, but that’s not protable. I used to love those caramel apple suckers that came out right around now. Wonder if they still make those?

    I have to say that not only has your photography improved leaps and bounds (as in, you aren’t the same person who posted those older photos) but your recipes themselves have gotten so much better too! Without compromising your easy to find ingredients and fast dessert ideals, you still manaage to create new and AWESOME looking recipes! I’m in awe.

    Can you taste the pb in these? I’m thinking I’d like to try them, but use something else in its place? Is it just for thickness?


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 26th, 2011 at 4:59 am

      too much caramel with the first bites, and not enough at the end. = yes!

      yes they still make those suckers, hard to find but they do

      not only has your photography improved leaps and bounds = thank you :)

      your recipes themselves have gotten so much better too! = thank you. I get accused of having lame recipes or “non-recipes” all the time, so thanks

      And no, you can’t really taste the PB per se. It’s there but as a binder, yes, but why skip it? I know you have nut butter issues but in this case, I am not just saying this…don’t reinvent the wheel. I really think you should keep it in. The batter needed it, if that makes sense.


  26. Moni'sMeals — September 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm (#

    wow, wow, wow! you have me so motivated to try these out and I forgot how much I like carmel and apple combos (but then you adding white chocolate and all the other goodies,) yeah Averie!

    Pics are looking so fab by the way. :)


  27. Rachel — September 25, 2011 at 8:22 pm (#

    wow. just…wow. these bars sound like everything i could want in life.


  28. Michele Sparrow — September 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm (#

    Oh. My. Goodness. These look so good. Like I said in yesterdays comments…your bars are amazing! Will definitely have to make these. My friend has an apple orchard and I am going to make my way up there next weekend! These are on the “DO” list! YUM!! :-)


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 26th, 2011 at 5:00 am

      I meant to reply back with a big THANK YOU from your comment yesterday…so thank you! for the high praise on my recipes/bars. You made my day w/ both of your sweet comments!


  29. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — September 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm (#

    Yum! These look so good! My two favorite ingredients! Peanut Butter and Apples, not to mention chocolate! Thanks for sharing this recipe. This week is about pumpkins so next week I am doing apples and this recipe is going to be made! I can’t wait!!!


  30. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit — September 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm (#

    Wow, they look so gooey! I would have thought that it was seriously just caramel and apples, so I think you named it perfectly. Love the image with the bite marks through all the squares! But you had fun with that one :)


  31. Victoria @ The Pursuit of Hippieness — September 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm (#

    Bookmarked. I have a date with these next weekend for SURE.


  32. Hannah — September 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm (#

    Ohmygosh, I ADORE the look of these! And I so love having you as a fellow blogger with a sweet toother – and being proud of it. Dessert lovers unite! :D


  33. Jackie — September 25, 2011 at 10:18 pm (#

    I picked up some apples at the farmers market last week and was scared that they would go bad since I haven’t been in the mood for raw apples. Tomorrow, it’s off to the store for the 2 ingredients that I don’t have, and these bars are as good as made. :) And later this week, it’s off to the Cider Mill for the best cider and donuts in Michigan (I wait all year for these) and maybe, if these bars disappear by then, more apples.
    As for caramel…i didn’t like it as a kid at all, but I absolutely love it now.
    Thanks for the fantastic recipe!


    • Averie @ Love Veggies & Yoga replied: — September 26th, 2011 at 5:03 am

      as good as made, love that expression

      and apple cider and donuts..oh sounds fab!

      keep me posted if you make these and lmk your thoughts


  34. Kris | — September 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm (#

    My heart is fluttering over here for caramel….caramel and apples ARE FALL to me :) These look amazingly gorg…just like you ;)



  35. Sara (The Veggie Eco-Life) — September 26, 2011 at 12:26 am (#

    They look yummy!


  36. Sally — September 26, 2011 at 3:16 am (#

    Bookmarked!!! I definitely need to try this recipe! Looks delicious thanks for sharing :))


  37. Nada (One Arab Vegan) — September 26, 2011 at 3:29 am (#

    These look delicious! Your photography is spectacular – you’ve officially got me craving caramel (which I LOVE)!


  38. Nicole @ Bake Me Blush — September 26, 2011 at 4:08 am (#

    These bars look like a much less messy way to enjoy that caramel apple flavor! I feel like I can reach out and grab a bar from your beautiful photos. Love the idea.


  39. Christine (The Raw Project) — September 26, 2011 at 6:22 am (#

    Wow, these bars look amazing! Perfect for fall and beautiful pictures!

    1. Pumpkin and apple cinnamon.
    2. Sure, there’s something fun and satisfying about the rich and gooey texture.


  40. Britt @ runwithbritt — September 26, 2011 at 7:46 am (#

    Caramel is my favorite fall flavor! Now that apples are in season I can’t wait to try your recipe and combine the two!


  41. Krista — September 26, 2011 at 8:49 am (#

    These look SO good, Averie! I wish I could eat apples……


  42. Callie {rawxy} — September 26, 2011 at 9:12 am (#

    Amen, girl – White chocolate goes with everything! Love the photos, too – The macro shots make me want to jump through the computer and dive in! Great detail.


  43. Amber K — September 26, 2011 at 9:56 am (#

    Apples and caramel definitely. And cinnamon and pumpkin. I just learned about roasting veggies last year and I didn’t do it nearly enough (darn my impatience). So I’m definitely looking forward to that!

    These bars look AMAZING! Taste, texture – both have to be on the level for me to truly enjoy something. And words like caramel, chewy, brown sugar, and especially white chocolate have me excited! Nothing is too sweet or too rich for this girl!


  44. Alisa Fleming — September 26, 2011 at 10:43 am (#

    Yum. That’s all that needs to be said.


  45. mi-an — September 26, 2011 at 11:36 am (#

    these look so good!! made my day! great pics! that pic of skylar…i would future model!


    • mi-an replied: — September 26th, 2011 at 11:45 am

      *would say*


  46. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — September 26, 2011 at 11:38 am (#

    These look amazing Averie! Wow. I love anything apple or pumpkin during the Fall. It’s my favorite time of year!


  47. Caitlin @ Vegetarian in the City — September 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm (#

    wow wow wow. thanks for the recipe :)


  48. jen — September 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm (#

    These bars look delicious! I need to make them soon :) I must also tell you that your photography is amazing! These photos are beautiful and really make your blog stand out.


  49. Cali — September 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm (#

    How typical,a food blogger erasing my comment because I didn’t praise some bars and gush endlessly about them.People act like a bunch of bars are the most wonderful thing in the whole world and nothing better has ever been done.Just a little advice…17 pictures of the same bars is a little overkill,2 would of got the point through :)))))


  50. Shabitha karthikeyan — September 26, 2011 at 9:40 pm (#

    Cute bars and tempting bars !!! Awesome clicks too !!


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