Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars

Caramel apples are so good, but they’re kind of a pain. The big stick, the messy factor, no thanks.

I put the flavor of caramel apples into soft, chewy bars. No sticks necessary.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars - Super soft, moist, chewy and all the flavor of caramel apples minus the stick! You're going to love these!

The bars are an updated version of my 2011 Caramel Apple Bars. They’re super soft, moist, dense and remind me of an apple version of Soft Carrot Cake Bars but use grated apples rather than grated carrots.

I used my go-to blondies base recipe as the jumping off point. 30+ versions of blondies later, it’s a keeper.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars - Super soft, moist, chewy and all the flavor of caramel apples minus the stick! You're going to love these!

To make the bars, I melted 1 stick of Horizon Organic Butter and whisked in one Horizon Organic Egg with brown sugar, spices, vanilla, flour, and grated apples. For 20 years Horizon Organic has been providing healthy organic milk, cheese, and other organic dairy products.

There are 3 apples in the 8×8 pan. It’s always nice to work in some extra fruits or veggies by way of dessert. I used Fuji apples and recommend a firm apple that’s not too tart.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars - Super soft, moist, chewy and all the flavor of caramel apples minus the stick! You're going to love these!

The bars are portable and make a great addition to lunch boxes. Now that back-to-school season is upon us, the challenge of finding things that are a hit with kids but that moms can live with is a daily exercise in creativity and resourcefulness. The bars are a slam dunk.

They’re comforting, homey, packed with flavor, the apples add so much chewy texture, and the homemade salted caramel drizzle complements the sweet apples perfectly.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars - Super soft, moist, chewy and all the flavor of caramel apples minus the stick! You're going to love these!

Many of my desserts I donate to friends, my daughter’s teachers, or people in my building after we have a piece or two. When you bake six days a week and have cakes, cookies, bars, and pie coming out of the ying-yang you just have to. However I happily hoarded the bars and they got softer and tasted even better a couple days after I baked them as the flavors married.

I’d sure like to open my lunchbox and have one of these staring back at me.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars - Super soft, moist, chewy and all the flavor of caramel apples minus the stick! You're going to love these!

Print Print Recipe

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars

I put the flavor of caramel apples into soft, chewy bars. No apples on a stick necessary. They're super soft, moist, dense and there are 3 apples in the 8x8 pan. It's always nice to work in some extra fruits or veggies by way of dessert. I used Fuji apples and recommend a firm apple that's not too tart like Fuji, Braeburn or Gala. They’re comforting, homey, packed with flavor, the apples add so much chewy texture, and the homemade salted caramel drizzle complements the sweet apples perfectly. Baking time will vary widely based on moisture content of apples, climate and oven variances; bake until bars are set and done.

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 squares

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 45 minutes, or until done

Total Time: about 90 minutes, for cooling

Ingredients:

Bars
1/2 cup unsalted Horizon Organic Butter (1 stick), melted

1 large Horizon Organic Egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon (not teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium/large apples, grated (about 1 1/2 cups grated apples measured loosely, not packed. I used 2 unpeeled Fuji, or try Braeburn or Gala)

Topping
1 medium/large apple, sliced into 1/8-inch slices, about 12 to 15 thin slices (I used 1 unpeeled Fuji)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
about 1/4 cup caramel sauce or salted caramel sauce, drizzled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Bars - In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don't scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, optional salt, and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the flour and stir until just combined; don't overmix.
  5. Add the grated apples and stir to combine.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Topping - Arrange apple slices by making 3 rows with 4 or 5 slices per row.
  8. Evenly sprinkle with cinnamon.
  9. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until center is set, and is firm and springy to the touch. Start checking at 35 minutes and in some ovens with some apples, bars may take 60 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Baking time will vary widely based on moisture content of apples, climate and oven variances; bake until bars are set and done. If the top is browning more than is desired before center is cooking through, tent pan by loosing laying a sheet of foil over pan.
  10. Allow bars to cool in pan for about 30 minutes before drizzling with caramel and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Bars get softer on days 2 and 3 and the flavors marry; I think the taste peaks 1-2 days after baking.

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Apple Pie Pancakes with Vanilla Maple Syrup – A Pinterest favorite! Soft, fluffy and full of apple flavor

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Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze – Super soft bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good & a must-make!

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The Best & Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Ready in 15 minutes & tastes 1000x better than any storebought sauce ever could!

Vegan Chunky Apple Cinnamon Muffins – You’ll never miss the eggs or butter in these easy, healthy muffins loaded with apples & cinnamon!

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5-Minute Microwave Apple Cinnamon Crumble For One (vegan, GF) – Warm, hearty, healthy & fast! Makes a great breakfast or snack!

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Post is brought to you by Horizon Organic. Recipe, images, and opinions expressed are my own. Follow @Horizon_Organic #HorizonB2S to exchange great parenting tips.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

   

45 Responses to “Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars”

  1. #
    1
    Maryea {happy healthy mama} — August 14, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Ooooh these look fabulous! A perfect fall treat. :) I am not accepting that fall is coming just yet though. :) I’ll have to pin these for later!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 14th, 2014 at 5:10 am

      I know, I’m resisting the thought, too! Thanks for pinning!

      Reply

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    Paula — August 14, 2014 at 4:00 am

    I love your generous use of apples in these bars–and I like the blondie recipe as a base. It was in the mid 50’s last night and some kids started school yesterday so seeing this recipe is making me realize fall is just around the corner. You have so many incredible apple recipes!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 14th, 2014 at 5:10 am

      Thanks for the compliments on my apple recipes and yes, kids went back to school here in many schools and for me, it’s the shorter days I notice that means fall is creeping up. The only thing I like about fall is…baking in it. That’s it. Otherwise, I want summer year round!

      Reply

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    3
    alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — August 14, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Averie,

    looks amazing! Congrats on your magazine cover too :)

    Reply

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    Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice — August 14, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Beautiful bars, Averie! It’s almost making me crave the cool, fall weather now! :) Can’t wait to try these out!

    Reply

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    5
    Danielle @ Chits and Chats and Chocolate — August 14, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Is it caramel apple season already??? Shoot. I still have a bunch of summer recipes on hand! These look much easier to eat than caramel apples!

    Reply

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    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life — August 14, 2014 at 6:05 am

    I love that you made caramel apples into an easy to hold bar treat! Those gooey apples on a stick are just way to mess! And yay for fall treats!!! My favorite time of year is almost here!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 14th, 2014 at 11:02 am

      I think as bakers, the fall is THE time to bake. From now til Xmas, this is our season (for baking – for everything else, I want summer!)

      Reply

  7. #
    7
    Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen — August 14, 2014 at 7:03 am

    You know it’s a good one when you can’t bring yourself to share! These look fabulous!

    Reply

  8. #
    8
    iram — August 14, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Dear Averie,
    Is it even possible that you cannot create a bar that is drool-worthy?! I mean I love you and your blog and all the recipes here. But it’s so hard to get thru a day when I can’t get instant gratification. :P

    You are an evil, but at the same time SWEET sugar genius.

    Thank you for posting this. Enjoy your day. ::)

    Reply

  9. #
    9
    CakePants — August 14, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Ohhh gosh these look so delicious!! Thanks for helping me start to get excited about fall (as a grad student with both my own classes to take and classes to teach in the fall, I’m in full denial mode that summer is wrapping up) – I’ll just have to bake these bars whenever I start to get stressed ;)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 14th, 2014 at 10:59 am

      I’m in denial too :) Good luck with your classes!

      Reply

  10. #
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    Kelly - LEFT SIDE OF THE TABLE — August 14, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Seeing this makes me SO happy…apple season!! I love caramel apples, but honestly hate eating them. Totally right Averie – it’s a sticky mess…plus the caramel isn’t in every bite lol I’m totally going to have to make these soon! It would be a total hit with my fam! Thanks for a wonderful fall recipe to try :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 14th, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Glad they sound good to you, thanks Kelly!

      Reply

  11. #
    11
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — August 14, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I can’t believe it’s this time of year already! Time to bake with apples! Loving these bars, Averie! Pinned!

    Reply

  12. #
    12
    Alyssa {Cake, Crust, and Sugar Dust} — August 14, 2014 at 9:11 am

    You are making me way too excited for fall! I looooove caramel apples! These bars sound amazing!

    Reply

  13. #
    13
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — August 14, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Wow! I want one of these in my lunch box :)

    Reply

  14. #
    14
    Polly @ Tasty Food Project — August 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Caramel apple reminds me of the fall season. :) These bars looks so delicious!

    Reply

  15. #
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    Kirsty @ Ever So Sweet — August 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    The autumn flavours are starting to creep in!
    These look so good. I can just imagine how dense and sticky and super decadent they are from the photos. Yum!

    Reply

  16. #
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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — August 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Gorgeous bars, so perfect for fall!

    Reply

  17. #
    17
    Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts — August 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    these look SO amazing – can’t wait to make these this autumn!

    Reply

  18. #
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    jenna @ just j.faye — August 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    These look absolutely amazing and make me excited for apple season in the fall!

    Reply

  19. #
    19
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — August 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    YES caramel apple is back! I love these bars Averie. SO yum. Pinned!

    Reply

  20. #
    20
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — August 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I absolutely LOVE caramel apples but insist on having them cut into segments because A) biting into apples whole with my teeth is a huge, freaky pet peeve of mine, and B) because they’re so messy! But these bars definitely solve both of those problems. Swoon!

    Reply

  21. #
    21
    Heather @ Shards of Lavender — August 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I tried to make caramels one time and it was a disaster! After all that work, the caramel melted off the apples and I vowed never to attempt again. These are the perfect solution and they look absolutely divine:)

    Reply

  22. #
    22
    Jess — August 15, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Caramel apples are for sure an enormous pain, but those flavors together are hard to beat – LOVE anything that combines them without all the sticky mess. Makes me excited for fall (or “fake fall” as we call it here in Thailand).

    Reply

  23. #
    23
    Carrie Pacini — August 15, 2014 at 6:01 am

    Love Caramel and Apples, the bars look amazing.

    Reply

  24. #
    24
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — August 15, 2014 at 7:25 am

    This makes me crave fall! So good Averie!

    Reply

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    DessertForTwo — August 15, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Why haven’t I made your moist carrot cake bars OR your apple bars? I must remedy that!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 15th, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Neither these bars or the carrot cake bars are doing to well virally..but honestly, it’s the best recipes that I PERSONALLY love that never seem to do as well…LOL. Seriously I hoarded these and the carrot cake bars too:)

      Reply

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    theurbansuburbanwoman — August 15, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Best time of year! I’ve already started baking with pumpkin! :) Never too early for fall comfort foods! Can’t wait to get your new cookbook. :)

    Reply

  27. #
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    Thalia @ butter and brioche — August 16, 2014 at 3:21 am

    these bars look delicious averie! love the flavour combination, you can never go wrong with apple and cinnamon.. especially when combined with sticky caramel!

    Reply

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    Kelly Moneysmith — August 18, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I made these last night for a friend so I haven’t gotten any feedback yet. Word of advice: if your apples are extra juicy like mine were drain or squeeze out the shredded pieces; reserve the juice. I added the juice back in little by little until I felt the batter had a good brownie consistency. Only took a table spoon or so.

    Reply

  29. #
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    Annie @ Annie's Noms — August 18, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I find Apples on a stick almost impossible to eat haha!! This is a much better way! They looks so incredibly moist!

    Reply

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    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — August 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Averie, you are beyond brilliant!! I hate the sticky factor of caramel apples (although I always cave and buy one at Disneyland; it’s basically required). And making them is even harder. A friend of mine and I tried one summer in high school for our Halloween-in-August party (yes, we were a crazy bunch — the summer before, we had Easter-in-July!), and we basically gave up and just ate the caramels. Turning them into bars instead = pure bliss.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 21st, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      I hate making them too! So messy! So…just…difficult. The caramel drips off the super slick apple skin and you end up with a mostly bald apple if the consistency isn’t *just right*!

      Reply

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    Ausra — August 22, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I’ve just made these bars and they taste great, just like a caramel apple, I loved all of your recipes that I’ve tried. Thanks Averie!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 22nd, 2014 at 11:23 am

      So glad to hear you loved them as well as the other recipes of mine you’ve tried!

      Reply

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    Krystle — August 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Just the thought of caramel apples turns me off because of the stick factor. This is such a creative solution, pinned!

    Reply

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