If you love apple pie, you are going to LOVE these tender and perfect Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars! A buttery shortbread cookie crust, topped with cinnamon-sugar sliced apples and a brown-sugar oatmeal streusel, drizzled with salted caramel and sprinkled with flaked sea salt - these are apple pie perfection, bite after delicious bite!
This family favorite recipe ranks right up there with fresh baked Classic Apple Pie, Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Upside-Down Caramel Pecan Apple Pie - the perfect little bite of apple pie in bar form. These are the perfect addition to our November Pie Celebration!
And for those days when you don't have a lot of time to put together a fresh apple pie, you can have these delicious Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars in the oven in mere minutes, and cooling on the counter in about an hour. The shortbread cookie crust is pressed into the pan with your fingers, and as fast as you can peel and slice a couple of apples, these are just about done. The perfect recipe for someone learning how to cook - not fussy at all, but the results are always extraordinary!
And the fresh baked apple and cinnamon spice smells coming out of your oven? Heavenly! Better than any candle on the market!
Don't skip the sea salt! If you've never tried a sprinkle of flaked sea salt on top of caramel, you are in for a treat. The perfect balance of salty-sweetness in every apple-filled bite. And you can enjoy these hot from the oven, cooled to room temperature, or even chilled from the fridge - it's all good!
You could also bedazzle these with some chopped pecans, but they are pretty spectacular all on their own. I usually double the recipe and bake these up in a 9x13-inch pan, because they disappear fast. I've lost track of how many times someone has asked me "Are there any more of those Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars left? Just one?"
HOW WE MAKE THESE:
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on two sides; set aside.
2. PREPARE THE CRUST: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Using your fingertips, press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the apple filling and streusel topping.
3. PREPARE THE APPLE FILLING: In a large bowl, place the sliced apples. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the top of your sliced applies, stirring gently until all of the apple slices are evenly coated; set aside.
4. PREPARE THE STREUSEL TOPPING: In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the chilled butter pieces with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside.
5. Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F. Layer the apple filling on top of the warm crust as evenly as you can. Press the apple slices down gently. Sprinkle the Streusel Topping evenly on top of the apple layer and bake for 40–45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the streusel is golden brown. (If your streusel topping is starting to get too brown, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top of the pan and continue baking until the apples are fork tender.)
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
7. Drizzle Salted Caramel Sauce or Apple Cider Caramel Sauce over the top of the bars and sprinkle with flaked sea salt. To cut the bars and serve easily, lift the edges of the parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides.
8. These can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even cold. Perfect with a scoop of vanilla bean or butter pecan ice cream on top too!
· For a larger batch, double recipe and bake in a 9x13-inch pan. Bake for 50-65 minutes (depending on the thickness of your apple slices), testing the apples for doneness with a fork or tip of a sharp knife.
· These Salted Caramel Apple Bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days, or you can freeze the bars for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, pop in a warm oven for 10 minutes (this will crisp up the streusel topping), and drizzle with salted caramel before serving.
YIELD: 9 servings (original recipe)
Originally posted October 2013; text and photos updated October 2017.
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