The hardest part of choosing a dish was picking out the apple that I wanted to use. Before I could decide on the dish I had to find my apple and see how sweet or tart it was. When I went to the market last weekend the McIntosh apples were calling my name. The brilliant red color of the skin with hints of green were just gorgeous. I went home and ate one, savoring the tartness of the apple.
In the end I decided on a caramel apple bar because the tartness of the apple would be wonderful with the sweetness of the caramel and oatmeal cookie. First I put the apples into a pan with butter and sugar and cooked them down until they are caramelized. Then I made the oatmeal sugar cookie base of the bars.
The cookie layer is baked in the oven and then when it is taken out caramel is poured over top and then is covered by the caramelized apples. The oat topping is sprinkled over top of everything and then the bars are baked. There is nothing quite like the smell of apples and cookies baking in the oven together. I couldn't wait for them to be finished so I could sneak a bite.
Both my husband and I adored these cookies. There was a nice crunch to the cookie, the caramel was soft and sweet, then the apples added a bit of sweet and sourness to the bars. The oat topping just added a little extra crunch to the bars. I took these to a party last weekend and they were gone before any of the other desserts. I'll be making these again soon!
Caramel Apple Crumble Bars (adapted from Annie's Eats)
For the filling:
2 T. butter
5 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 T. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
For the caramel:
9 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped
2 T. half and half
1 t. sea salt
For the dough:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. oats
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 c. applesauce
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 9 baking dish (or an 11 x 7 baking dish) with parchment paper.
2. In a medium skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, under the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well to blend.
4. Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture and cut into the flour using a pastry cutter. Stir in the applesauce, egg yolk, and vanilla, mixing well.
5. Place two-thirds of the dough mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press down into an even layer. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until it is a light golden brown.
6. While the cookie layer is baking, combine the caramels and half and half in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the caramels, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Add in the sea salt and stir. Remove from heat.
7. Once the cookie layer is baked, pour the caramel over top of it. Layer the cooked apples on top of the caramel. Crumble the remaining dough over top of the apple slices.
8. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
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Scrumptious Sundays, Crazy Sweet Tuesdays,Sweets for a Saturday,