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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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 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.
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)
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
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- Bars – In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
- 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.
- Add the flour and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
- Add the grated apples and stir to combine.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
- Topping – Arrange apple slices by making 3 rows with 4 or 5 slices per row.
- Evenly sprinkle with cinnamon.
- 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.
- 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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