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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Caramel Apple Bars

Caramel Apple Bars | The Sweets Life
Caramel Apple Bars 

After making caramel apple ice cream, I found myself with leftover caramel and a craving for all things caramel apple. I turned to an old recipe, caramel apple nut bars, that I've been thinking about remaking in the four years since I first made them. Side note: how in the world have four years passed? I'm increasingly aware of how fleeting time is, and this realization really hit home a few weeks ago, the night before my cousin Ashlyn's wedding. My sister Julia and I, her matrons of honor, slept over at my Aunt and Uncle's house the night before, as did my brother Quinn. With he and my cousin Ben in one room, and us three girls tucked away in another, we couldn't help but reminisce about the countless times the 5 of us had slept under the same roof before, for yet another cousin sleepover. Weren't we just six and seven, ten, eleven, and twelve years old? Where does time go?!?!
Pin ItCaramel Apple Bars | The Sweets Life
Anyway, before I go too far down the nostalgic path, let's turn our attention back to this dessert. As I said before, I'd made a similar iteration in the past and they were begging to be remade. This time around I reduced the butter a bit (you'd never know), added a bit of whole wheat flour, and omitted the nuts, turning caramel apple nut bars into caramel apple bars. The nuts can just as easily be included, I was simply working with what I had on hand and truthfully, these were still fantastic even without the added crunch. The bars freeze well, and can be re-warmed once thawed (and served with ice cream!) or eaten at room temperature / chilled. If you choose to eat them warm have a fork on hand, that caramel gets gooey!
Caramel Apple Bars | The Sweets Life

Grab a few apples and some caramel and whip up this fall-inspired dessert bar! 

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Caramel Apple Bars

-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-2 cups old-fashioned oats
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 cup butter, softened
-1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
-1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with foil, grease, and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours, oats, sugar, baking soda, and butter, mixing until the mixture is crumbly. Press 3 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, reserving the remainder for the topping. Bake the crust at 350F for 10 minutes.
3. Remove crust from oven and evenly spread caramel over the crust. Top with chopped apple and sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the top of the apples. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until topping is golden brown.
4. Allow pan to cool on wire rack completely before cutting and serving.

adapted from my caramel apple nut bars