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Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Servings 16 -20 bars, depending on size cut

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Gala Apples or kind of choice, peeleed, cored & sliced thin

*Homemade Caramel Sauce*

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt

*Crust/Crumble Topping*

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + 3 tbs divided
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cut into chunks and softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper or grease some foil very well.
  • First, you'll need to prepare your caramel sauce. In a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot, heat water and sugar on HIGH heat and whisk just until the sugar is dissolved. It is extremely important that you have your stove on high heat or you run the risk of seizing up the sugar, turning it into a solid mess. Once sugar is dissolved, put the whisk to the side and start swirling the pot by the handle in circular motions. It's very important that you don't disturb the caramelization process too much and is why you'll need to swirl instead of whisk. Swirl constantly until the melted sugar turns a dark amber color, this will take about 5 minutes or so. The darker the amber color, the more intense caramel flavor you will have. After it turns dark amber, slowly and carefully pour in heavy cream. It will bubble up violently so you will need your whisk to whisk it very fast until it comes back down and it will start looking like caramel at this point. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Allow to cool down a bit while you slice your apples.
  • Slice apples very thin. Reserve a 1/3 cup of caramel and set it aside for drizzling after the bars are baked. Place apples in the pot of warm caramel and stir to coat. Allow them to sit and tenderize and soften slightly while you prepare your crust/crumble.
  • In the bowl of your KitchenAid Stand Mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir 3 cups of flour and brown sugar together to combine on low speed. Turn mixer onto medium speed and slowly cut in butter until a coarse texture resembling peas is achieved. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fully combined. Your mixture should have a dough-like texture. Take 2/3 of that dough and press it into your prepared pan into an even for your crust. Bake crust for 10 minutes.
  • Take your apples and caramel and pour them over the warm, baked crust. The caramel may have thinned out a lot from the apples releasing their juices, not to worry because it will thicken back up from the heat of the oven.
  • Now, take the remaining dough and add 3 tbs of flour to it to loosen it up. Give it a spin in your KitchenAid stand mixer until it breaks up into little pieces. If it doesn't break up enough, you can just use your fingers to crumble it up. Sprinkle it on top of the caramel apples trying to get as much of the surface as you can. There will be some spaces left uncovered and that is okay.
  • Turn oven to 375 degrees. Bake bars for 30 minutes or until the caramel starts firming up and the top is lightly golden. Allow bars to cool before cutting into bars and serving for at least an hour. Serve with reserved caramel drizzled on top.
  • Caramel Apple Pie Bars will stay fresh for 3 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Notes

*You can use store-bought caramel sauce but I think homemade tastes 1,000x better.