Salted Caramel Dutch Apple Bars

My kitchen was overflowing with apples. As much as I love apples, I just couldn’t eat all of them. We had went a little nuts on the apple picking at Eckert’s and had quite a few left over. Instead of letting them go to waste, I got to baking. Luckily I love to bake. There is just something about putting on a pretty apron and creating something that gets me all giddy inside.

A few years ago my sister got me hooked on salted caramel. We were home in Wisconsin for Christmas and stopped by Starbucks for some warm beverages. With Molly’s encouragement and persistence I tried their salted caramel hot chocolate and oh boy was it delightful. Speaking of Wisconsin, there is a little country store and bakery that has my absolute favorite apple pie. The Elegant Farmer bakes their apple pies in a brown paper bag and it does something amazing. I am no food scientist so I am not totally sure what, but I know that I would give just about anything for one of their dutch apple pies covered in caramel. This was my inspiration for this fall treat.  Autumn heaven in my mouth.

Salted Caramel Dutch Apple Bars
Prep Time:
45 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Yield: 32 bars

Ingredients:
2 pie crusts (yes, I used store-bought. My dad might have a heart attack over this, but it was easier and just as tasty)
1 1/2 cups caramel dip
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons corse sea salt
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
4 large apples peeled and diced (unfortunately, I can’t tell you what kind I used because I have no idea what I picked off the tree)

TOPPING:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup caramel topping

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place both pie crusts on a cookie sheet. Spread out the dough to fill in the gaps caused by putting 2 circles in a rectangular pan. I cut off some pieces of excess from one side and smushed it down into other places that needed it. Just make sure the entire bottom om the pan is covered. 
  3. Put the peeled, diced apples in a medium-sized bowl. Add the caramel dip and stir untill all the apples are coated. Lastly, pour in the flour, salt, cinnamon and combine. 
  4. Arrange the apple mixture in a single layer over the pie crust to completely cover it.
  5. For the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl. Mix well. Feel free to use your hands to mush it all together. When you have the texture of wet, crumbly sand, sprinkle the topping over all the apples. Spread it around so all the apples are covered.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the edges start to brown and the apples are tender.
  7. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with caramel topping. Cut into squares and serve.

This recipe is delicious warm or cold. I prefer it cold, but that’s also because I love cold apple pie. Who is with me on that one? Anyhow, it is also yummy warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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