I was basically forced into baking something for our football game yesterday, so I needed something portable that could feed a lot of mouths. Bars are a type of dessert I like making, because they are usually easy and they are very portable. A request from a friend was to make something “apple-y and cinnamony” and I saw this recipe a few days ago so he was lucky! This also is a great recipe to use over any leftover caramel sauce (if you have any!) from the caramel sauce I bullied you into making. You need around 3/4 cup or enough to make a thin layer over the batter in the pan you are using. Ok, gather your ingredients, get into an autumn baking mood and start:
Caramel Apple Crumble Bars (adapted from Annie’s Eats)
For the filling:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 large (or 5 medium) apples, peeled and sliced (I used 5 and had a little extra, a mix of 2 green apples and 3 red)
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of grated nutmeg (Didn’t have any, so I used allspice)
*9 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped
*2 tbsp. heavy cream
*I’ve never found wrapped caramels in Bahrain, have any of you? So, substitute your already prepared caramel sauce (or, if you must, storebought jarred caramel sauce)
For the dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375˚ F (190 C). Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Now, all my square pans were missing, so after throwing a temper tantrum I used an 11×9 inch rectangle baking pan, and had to make a little more of the crumb topping to compensate. To make the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, under the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dough. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla and stir with a fork or knead very briefly just until a crumbly dough comes together. Transfer about two thirds of the dough mixture to the prepared baking pan and press down into an even layer. Bake until light golden, about 12-14 minutes.
- While the base is baking, combine the caramels and cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Melt the caramels, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is totally smooth. Remove from the heat. Once the base layer is baked, pour the caramel over the top. Layer with the cooked apple slices. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the apple slices. (I was a little short, so I just added a few tablespoons extra of the oatmeal and flour and cinnamon and mixed in a bit more butter, you want to have enough streusel topping to cover the entire top) Sprinkle evenly with the chopped nuts, if using. I used pecans. Yum!
- Bake about 22-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy! and share with your friends, they’ll love you even more.