Caramel Apple Bars — Super soft, moist, chewy, and all the flavor of caramel apples minus the stick! You’re going to love these apple caramel 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.
These apple caramel bars are 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.
There are three apples in the 8×8-inch pan. It’s always nice to work in some extra fruits or veggies by way of dessert.
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 caramel apple 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!
Ingredients in Caramel Apple Bars
This apple bars recipe is quick and easy, and it calls for just a handful of basic ingredients.
To make the easy apple bars, you’ll need:
- Unsalted Horizon Organic Butter
- Horizon Organic Egg
- Light brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon, nutmeg & salt
- All-purpose flour
- Caramel sauce (store-bought or homemade)
What Kind of Apples Are Best?
I used Fuji apples and recommend a firm apple that’s not too tart. However, any baking apple should work.
How to Make Caramel Apple Bars
The apple caramel bars are simple to prepare and there’s minimal cleanup afterwards. Win! Here’s an overview of the baking process:
- To make the bars, melt 1 stick of Horizon Organic Butter.
- Then, whisk in one Horizon Organic Egg followed by the brown sugar, spices, vanilla, flour, and grated apples.
- Turn the batter into a greased 8×8-inch baking dish. Top with apple slices and sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired.
- Bake the blondies until the center is set and springy to the touch.
- Let them cool for about 30 minutes before drizzling with caramel sauce and serving.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, you can double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan. The bake time should remain roughly the same.
How to Store Leftovers
The caramel apple 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.
Tips for Making the Caramel Apple Bars
I recommend lining your pan with foil before turning the batter into it. This step isn’t necessary, but it makes cleanup so much easier.
You need to let the blondies cool for 30 minutes before topping with caramel sauce. If you add the caramel sauce to the piping hot blondies, it will just soak straight into the bars.
If desired, you can omit the caramel sauce to make classic apple bars. However, we love salted caramel sauce in our house and I can’t make these bars without it!
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Caramel Apple Bars
- ½ cup unsalted Horizon Organic Butter, melted
- 1 large Horizon Organic Egg
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon, not teaspoon
- ½ 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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More Easy Apple Desserts:
ALL OF MY APPLE RECIPES!
Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars — The soft yet dense apple cheesecake layer tops a crisp, brown sugar-graham cracker crust, while gooey, salted caramel drenches the top.
Cinnamon Spice Applesauce Bread with Honey Butter — Applesauce keeps this bread so soft and moist! It’s like apple spice cake, disguised as ‘bread’ so you can have extra.
Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — An EASY, one-bowl, no-mixer apple cake that’s to-die-for!! Loaded with juicy apples in every bite, perfectly spiced, and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting! So DELISH!!
Apple Fritter Bread — Soft, fluffy bread that’s stuffed AND topped with apples, cinnamon, and sugar!! Like apple fritters in bread form!! Best apple bread EVER!
Cinnamon Roll Apple Bake — A layer of cinnamon rolls topped with apples and a crunchy oatmeal crumble makes this the ULTIMATE apple crisp!! EASY, ready in 40 minutes, and tastes AMAZING!!
Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Cake — If you like carrot cake, you’re going to LOVE this version that includes apples and a tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the center!! EASY, amazing, and a MUST-MAKE!!
Apple Pie Bread with Streusel Topping — If you like apple crumble pie, you’re going to love this EASY no-mixer apple pie bread!! Soft, tender, moist bread with the contrast of the slightly crunchy crumble topping is PERFECT!
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