alt featured image for Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

You know the holidays are closing in when the ingredients for Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars hit the grocery list!

a white surface with apple pie bars and apples

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

What’s A Super Trendy Apple Dessert?

There are plenty of fabulous apple desserts that “trend” just before, and during the holiday season. And we are familiar with so many of them; apple cake, apple bread pudding, apple pie, and stewed cinnamon apples with vanilla ice cream just to name a few.

If you’re the host for this year’s Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration, or if you’ve been invited to celebrate as a guest in somebody else’s home, take a close look at this recipe for apple crumble bars.

Warm cinnamon, sweet brown sugar, crunchy pecans, and fresh sliced apples are combined into a lavish yet easy layered bar with a buttery shortbread crust, and a divine streusel topping that makes eighteen hefty servings.

a white surface with apple pie bars and apples

The Thanksgiving buffet would not be the same minus desserts with apple…

This KILLER apple dessert recipe may end up taking the place of apple pie sooner than later. Think I’m kidding?

Recipes for apple desserts are among the most requested messages I receive. And apple caramel recipes are off the charts! Say hello to Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars!

Apple caramel bars are no more work than making an apple pie from scratch. Personally, I identify with the rich consistency more than I do a pie. It’s sweeter without being more sugary if that makes sense, and it screams for a scoop of French vanilla.

A single batch of Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars yields 18 hefty servings, and the flavors in this mighty slice of autumn is outrageously good!

Do You Have What’s Needed To Make Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars? Check The List!

for the buttery shortbread crust

apples
a lemon
light brown sugar
cinnamon
vanilla extract
Kosher salt
pecans

for the fresh apple filling

apples
a lemon
light brown sugar
cinnamon
vanilla extract
Kosher salt

for the golden brown streusel topping

all purpose flour
pecans
light brown sugar
quick cooking oats
Kosher salt
unsalted butter

optional for serving

caramel sauce
flakey sea salt

How This Recipe Came About…

Apples and caramel – what’s not to embrace I ask? You may laugh a little to yourself when you read this, but I am admitting to it. By ‘it’ I mean my obsession with homemade salted caramel.

Carve up a Granny Smith or Red Delicious and sit me down with a bowl of salted caramel sauce and you won’t hear a peep out of me for at least thirty minutes time. So it should not come as a surprise to any of you that my hunt for a baking recipe to incorporate apple pie filling with a crumble topping AND salted caramel was next on the agenda.

These apple bars are honestly a dessert I’d bake over and above an apple pie. YUP. The recipe yields more than a traditional 9-inch round pie would by more than half, and in my opinion, the apple filling in these is just better. Sweeter without being sugary if that makes sense.

a white surface with apple pie bars and apples

Why Is Caramel Sauce Listed As ‘Optional’ In The Ingredient List?

Simple. Transport and personal preference. Even if you’re only going as far as your own dining room side board with these fabulous little dessert bars, having the caramel on the side allows the eater to decide if, and more specifically, how much to add to their plates.

Should you be transporting these bars to a gathering, having the caramel be transported separately makes more sense. It’s just rules out sticky mishaps.

a white surface with apple pie bars and apples

What’s The Best Caramel Sauce I Can Buy?

Buy what you enjoy. That said, and if you really want to class this dessert up, seek out a high quality caramel sauce.

If you prefer to make your own caramel sauce, all the better. For my purposes, and just because I know I can get jarred sauce at as high a quality as I’d make my own, I just purchase it for this dessert. Choose to drizzle the caramel sauce before serving, or serve it on the side with flakey sea salt because that’s just the bomb right there folks…

a white surface with apple pie bars and apples

How To Make Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars?

Before you begin, be sure to have a roll or sheets of parchment paper on hand. By and large, parchment is not only necessary for keeping the integrity of the finished bake neat and pretty, but is integral for lifting the bake out from the baking pan.

I am using and specifying a 9 x 13-inch pan. Using this size will give you 18 servings from this apple pie bars recipe.

I will cut my first parchment sheet to fit the length of the bottom and sides of the pan with a 2-inch overhang at each end. Next, cut another sheet of parchment to fit the width of the bottom and sides of the pan with a 2-inch overhang on each side.

Take note of which sheet of parchment you are fitting LAST, as these overhangs will be the ones to grab when lifting from the pan. Use cooking spray under and on top of the parchment sheets to help the paper adhere to the sides and bottom of the pan.

This may seem like a lot of extra work, but an entire sheet of apple pie bars WITH streusel topping is HEAVY! Having parchment to do the lifting at the end is soooo worth any hassle in the beginning.

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You’ll get started on the shortbread crust first, creaming the butter and sugars together before adding the ground pecans and the flour. Once all are loosely combined, the mixture is spilled into the parchment-lined pan and pressed using the flat bottom of say a measuring cup. Then, it’s baked.

While the crust is cooling, the apple pie filling is assembled. Apples, lemon juice, brown sugar and the aromatics are stirred together, then spread out atop the crust. Then, a simple crumb topping is sprinkled over the apple mixture.

The ensemble bakes for just around 60 minutes total time. The top will be a beautiful golden brown, the apples soft and very fragrant. Cool in the pan completely. Yeah, I know. The hardest part.

When your apple pie bars (or apple pie squares depending on how you’ll cut them) are cool, grab the ends of the parchment and lift to a cutting surface. You should only need to use two overhanging ends, whichever sheet you inserted LAST, to lift the bake. Leave the bake right on the parchment while you make your cuts.

a white surface with apple pie bars and apples

Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…

To run this recipe and make it not entirely average, consider adding fresh cranberries to the apple filling for a batch of apple cranberry pie bars. Or, you could switch the apples out altogether for fresh sliced pears.

Part of me also tends to think that nuts other than pecans would also make this bake interesting. In particular, I am thinking salted peanuts. YUP…

a white surface with apple pie bars and apples

How Long Do Apple Pie Bars Take To Make?

All in all, set aside about two hours and fifteen minutes for this dessert. Don’t worry, there’s only about thirty minutes of that time where you’ll actually be working hands-on.

The prep time took me half an hour. The bake a full hour. Cooling times will always vary, but mine was about forty-five minutes.

If you make your own caramel sauce, plan for additional time, but I generally just grab a really high quality jarred caramel. I have included several for purchase herein.

a white surface with apple pie bars and apples

How To Store Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars?

If you do manage to have leftovers, store them in a flat plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. They may be stored on the counter at room temperature overnight, or refrigerated for up to three days.

Can Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars Be Frozen?

Yes! Again, load them in a flat plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Use sheets of parchment between layers. Frozen, these easy salted caramel apple bars with keep for up to three months.

If You Like This Recipe…

…you might also like:

Fig Bars With Oatmeal And Walnuts

Blissful And Indulgent Creamy Pink Grapefruit Bars

Southerly Pecan Dessert Bites

Church Street Cheesecake Squares

church street cheesecake squares

Church Street Cheesecake Squares

alt featured image for Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

You know the holidays are closing in when the ingredients for MUST DO Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars hit the grocery list!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Cooling Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple caramel recipes, apple pie, apples, baking with apples, christmas dessert, desserts apple, desserts with apple, make apple pie bars, salted caramel apple pie bars, thanksgiving dessert
Servings: 18 servings
Calories: 456kcal
Cost: $0.26 per serving

Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.

Equipment

  • 9 x 13-inch baking pan
  • parchment paper
  • handheld electric mixer
  • mixing bowls
  • cooking spray

Ingredients

Ingredients For Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

    for the buttery shortbread crust

    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar  packed
    • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup pecans processed in food processor until very fine
    • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

    for the fresh apple filling

    • 6 large apples any variety, peeled, cored, and sliced
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice fresh
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar  packed
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

    for the golden brown streusel topping

    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 cup pecans rough chopped
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
    • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
    • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
    • 3/4 cups unsalted butter melted

    optional for serving

    • caramel sauce
    • flakey sea salt such as Malden

    Instructions

    The Method

      make the buttery shortbread crust

      • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch straight-sided baking pan. Cut a parchment sheet to fit the length of the bottom and sides of the pan with a 2-inch overhang at each end. Next, cut another sheet of parchment to fit the width of the bottom and sides of the pan with a 2-inch overhang on each side. Spray the bottom inside and top of the pan with cooking spray to ensure the parchment stays in place.
        Take note of which sheet of parchment you are fitting LAST, as these overhangs will be the ones to grab when lifting from the pan.
      • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add flour, ground pecans, and salt and mix until just combined. Press into prepared pan 1/2-inch up sides. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. 

      make the fresh apple filling

      • In a large bowl, toss apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt together. Scrape the apple mixture over the crust and using a spatula, spread evenly to all corners. Set aside.

      make the streusel topping

      • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pecans, brown sugar, oats, and salt. With the tines of a fork, stir in melted butter until mixture is lumpy. Use your hands to sprinkle crumb topping over apples, breaking up any especially large lumps with your fingers. Bake 1 hour. Top will be a nice golden brown color and apples will be soft. Let cool completely, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
      • Grab parchment overhangs of the piece of parchment you lined the baking dish with LAST. SLOWLY lift the straight up and place immediately on a cutting surface. Keep the parchment under the bake in place. Slice into 18 equally sized bars. Offer a bowl of caramel sauce or drizzle lightly with caramel before serving. Top with bits of flakey sea salt.

      Notes

      Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
      To Store in a flat plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. They may be stored on the counter at room temperature overnight, or refrigerated for up to three days.
      To Freeze load them in a flat plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Use sheets of parchment between layers. Frozen, these easy salted caramel apple bars with keep for up to three months.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1serving | Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 180mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 610IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg

      Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.

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