Caramel Apple Bars… because apparently everything I make this autumn has to have a crumble topping.
This is defintely a case of a recipe that tastes so much better than it photographs. I even went to the effort of trying to jazz things up with a bit of maple syrup icing. It’s not my fault that caramel, cooked apples, shortbread, and crumble topping are all varying shades of beige!
There are a few steps needed to make these – this is definitely not a one-bowl wonder. But they are totally do-able, and in my opinion undeniably worth the effort. Sort of like an apple pie had a caramel-filled baby with an apple crumble. Sounds lush, right?
This recipe is a hybrid of about 10 recipes out there, with all the best bits thrown together. The caramel apple layer is highly influenced by this beautiful recipe on Pinch of Yum, and the crumble topping has come straight off the top of my gorgeous blackberry apple cumble muffins. Which you need to get making pronto.
But the real inspiration here is just yummy autumn-ness. With bonfire night a mere couple of weeks’ away, what can be more fitting than Granny Smith apples smothered in caramel. And, as we’ve established, autumn equals crumble topping where I’m concerned.
I’m working on something a bit special for Halloween, so assuming all goes to plan that should be heading your way early next week. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, I’m going to curl up with a hot chocolate and a caramel apple bar and enjoy the best week of Emmerdale we ever did see.
- 115g (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 50g (¼ cup) caster sugar (US granulated sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 125g (1 cup) plain or all-purpose flour
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
- 50g (¼ cup) unsalted butter
- 50g (¼ cup) light brown sugar
- 60ml (¼ cup) double cream
- 70g (½ cup) plain or all-purpose flour
- 100g (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 75g (1 cup) jumbo rolled oats
- 75g (¾ cup) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F (130°C fan) and line an 8 inch square tin with grease proof paper or baking parchment.
- Make the base by beating 115g of butter with 50g of caster sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and 125g of plain flour, and fold together gently until a dough forms. Press the dough into the pre-lined tin, and bake for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
- Increase the oven temperature to 180°C / 355°F (160°C fan). Make the caramel apple layer by placing the thin slices of apple, 50g unsalted butter, and 50g light brown sugar into a medium saucepan. Heat on a medium temperature until the mixture is about to start bubbling. Add the cream and stir whilst heating until the mixture forms a thicker sauce that will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Make the crumble topping by rubbing 35g of plain flour together with 50g of cold unsalted butter. This can be done by hand, or using a food processor. Stir in the oats, 50g of light brown sugar, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
- Assemble by pouring the caramel apple mixture onto the pre-baked shortbread base. Make sure the apples are well distributed so that each bar has an even amount of fruit. Sprinkle the crumble layer evenly on the top and then press down slightly with the back of a spoon.
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes, turning the pan once when baking to ensure an even bake. Once golden brown in colour, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove from the tin and cut into 16 squares.
- The bars will remain fresh for 3-4 days if stored in an air-tight container, although they are best eaten after the first couple of days.