Caramel Apple Bars (Yay, it's Fall!)

This is absolutely my favorite time of year.  Favorite.  Cardigans, cool breezes, the smell of leaves and bonfires.  But mostly, I love the food.  Pot Roasts and Football Dips.  But being the baker I am, I adore all the variety of  desserts that I can fill with apple, pumpkin, cinnamon and maple goodness.  I broke into my pumpkin stash early this year and started offering fall goodies at the farmers market as soon as just the hint of cooler weather came my way.  "Cool" being the 70's, but that feels like fall after the hot and humid streak we'd had.

I'm sure I'll be sharing some pumpkin treats later, but now, let's talk about these Caramel Apple Bars.  They're like an apple crisp that you can eat without the fork/spoon.  But perhaps more delicious than apple crisp because of the crust and caramel layer.  And if nothing else, making these makes your house smell A-MA-ZING.  No expensive candle can compare.

Caramel Apple Bars
adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

-1 c. brown sugar
-3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
-1 tsp. apple pie spice
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1 c. flour
-1 c. pecan meal
-2 c. old-fashioned oats

-21-28 oz. diced apples (pick a tart variety) or 3-4 cups
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. apple pie spice
-1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla

-10-12 oz caramel candies
-3 Tbsp. milk
(or I used 12 oz Peters Caramel with 2 Tbsp. milk)

-Peel and dice apples.  Add spice, salt and vanilla.  Stir and set aside.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, coat with non-stick cooking spray.

-In bowl of stand mixer, or in a medium size bowl, beat together brown sugar, butter, apple pie spice, salt, and baking soda until blended.  Stir in flour, pecan meal, and oatmeal until the the mixture is combined and crumbly.  Set aside a heaping 1 cup of the crumbs.  Press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of your prepared pan.

-Spread apples over the top of your crust

-In a microwave-safe bowl, add caramels and milk.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until the caramel is smooth and creamy.  Pour evenly over apples.

Add your reserved crumbs.  

Bake the bars 35-40 minutes.  The caramel should be bubbly.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Cut into bars and enjoy them as that warm fall feeling takes over!

P.S.- As soon as I can figure it out, I'm adding a print option.  Won't that be exciting?!  And don't forget to "Like" Cookie Crazed Mama on Facebook.  I love being "Liked"!


  1. Where do you buy pecan meal? Miss you at the market:)

  2. I've actually never purchased pecan meal! I just grind pecans in my food processor until they're almost a powder. King Arthur Flour does sell it online though, but a lot of times you can find it in the same aisles they sell Bob's Red Mill products or in Gluten Free sections. Good luck! And thanks, I miss going to the market!