Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars – RECIPE
All the goodness of Salted Caramel Apple Pie in much easier bar form!
My two favorite holidays of the year are Thanksgiving and the 4th of July.
Thanksgiving is cozy. It's everything I love about Christmas, but without the commercialism (which has it's place in my heart as well, but it's nice to have a holiday without it). It's cinnamon and spices and turkey with cranberries and sweet potato casserole. It's brown and gold and orange and red. It's coming home and being with family. It's really just the most lovely of holidays in my opinion.
I've always had a soft spot for the 4th of July– I think in large part because it's my birthday month. But besides that, I just love the excitement of it all! The fireworks, the pool, the community coming together in the parade and festivities. I think of star-shaped sunglasses on little girls, sno-cone stained red lips, and the completely uninhibited joyful feelings that summer brings with it. Hamburgers and pool parties and sitting in lawn chairs with your neighbors as the sun goes down before the fireworks begin. I adore the 4th of July.
Conveniently, both holidays involve Apple Pie. Coincidence?!
I haven't always loved apple pie. In fact, I had never eaten a slice of apple pie until after I was married. My husband convinced me to try the caramel apple empanada at Taco Bell (which is funny in so many different ways in hindsight), and I fully expected to hate it since it wasn't chocolate.
But, as anyone who has tried the caramel apple empanada from Taco Bell can attest, it was devilishly amazing. And albeit a far cry from a homemade apple pie, it opened my eyes to the world of non-chocolate and emboldened me to actually try a slice of the real thing.
And it was NOT love at first bite. No. Apple pie has been an acquired taste for me. But I did eventually come to love it wholeheartedly. And now, my favorite way to eat it is a day old and nuked with a slice of cheddar cheese on top. Anyone else do that?
I also love apple pie warm and fresh with a MONSTER scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What I don't always love? Taking the time to roll out a crust. Praying that it doesn't fall apart. Hoping the filling doesn't bubble out and burn at the bottom of my oven.
You guys. These apple pie BARS are such a no-brainer. Press in the pan crust (check check), deep dish prevents bubbling over (check), and a massive amount of buttery crumbles on top (BONUS)!!
And wait– it gets better!
On top of the sweet, buttery layer of crust; and on top of the cinnamon spiced and sugared apple slices; and on top of the perfect crumbly crumble, there's yet another layer that makes these bars irresistibly delicious.
Salted Caramel. SALTED CARAMEL. These bars are insane. But so NOT at the same time, because it all just makes so much sense! It is literally apple pie heaven. Which is where I want to go when I die.
…Unless there's a caramel empanada heaven. I *might* rather go there.
???? Don't judge.
This Smuckers Salted Caramel topping is my FAVORITE. I use it on everything. Like, everything. And it's absolutely perfect drizzled over these apple pie bars. It sets off those homey, aromatic flavors in the best way and soaks into that butter crumb topping like they were made for each other.
Trust me. This is love at first bite!
For the Crust & Crumble Topping:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 cups sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 large egg 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cold water
For the Filling:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup salted caramel topping sauce
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth.
Mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, egg, and vanilla. Once mixture is crumbly, add the water and continue to mix until larger clumps form.
Press half of the mixture into a well-greased or parchment-lined 9x13 baking dish. Set aside the remaining mixture.
Make the filling:
Mix together the cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon.
Place the apple slices in a large bowl. Pour the mixture over the apple slices and gently mix to coat.
Drizzle the lemon juice over the apples and gently mix a little more.
Layer the apple filling over the pie crust in the dish.
Add the topping:
Crumble the remaining crust mixture over top of the apples.
Drizzle the salted caramel sauce over the crumble topping.
Bake for 45 minutes. If desired, drizzle more salted caramel sauce over top before serving.