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Apple pie bars drizzled with salted caramel sauce stacked on a white plate.
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5 from 1 vote

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Salted caramel apple pie bars are a delicious (and quick and easy!) alternative to classic apple pie. Made from scratch with a brown sugar shortbread crust, cinnamon apple filling, streusel topping, and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce, this apple crumb bars recipe is simple enough for weeknight baking yet impressive enough to serve at your Thanksgiving feast.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16
Calories: 208kcal

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Apple Filling

  • 2 medium apples*
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Streusel Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Salted Caramel Sauce, for drizzling on top (optional, but seriously delicious!)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray and set aside.

Make the shortbread crust.

  • Add flour, brown sugar, and butter to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes a very crumbly dough.
  • Pour the dough into the prepared pan and gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan to create a solid crust. Make sure the crust reaches all the way into the edges and corners of the pan and that there are no holes in the crust.
  • Bake the crust until it’s a light golden brown, about 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven but keep the oven on. While the crust bakes, prepare the apple filling and streusel topping.

Prepare the apple filling.

  • Core the apples, peel them using a vegetable peeper or a small, sharp knife, and slice each apple into 16 wedges.
  • Place the apples in a medium bowl and add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until the apples are well coated. Set aside.

Make the streusel topping.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until a crumbly mixture forms.
  • Spoon the apple slices over the par baked crust so that all of the crust is covered. Do not add any liquid from the bottom of the bowl to the pan.
  • Crumble the streusel topping over the apple slices.

Bake the bars.

  • Return the pan to the to the 350°F oven and bake for another 30 minutes or until the streusel topping becomes golden.
  • Let the pie bars cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. To serve, slice into bars and drizzle each with salted caramel sauce.

Notes

Storage: Apple pie bars are best served the day they're made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*For this recipe I used Honeycrisp apples because I love their sweet flavor and firm texture. Consider using 2 different types of apples, as I do when baking apple pie, to give the bars a more complex apple flavor. You'll want to use only firm apples (no Macintosh apples) for this recipe. I recommend one Honeycrisp apple (or a similar variety like Gala or Pink Lady, with firm texture and sweet flavor) and one Granny Smith apple (tart flavor and firm texture) for these bars.
I recommend either a metal or enameled pan for this recipe. Metal is ideal for achieving a golden shortbread crust, but I opted for enameled stoneware so that I could serve the bars right from the pan that I baked them in.
You may also choose to line the baking pan with parchment before spraying it with cooking spray. Lining the pan with parchment will allow you to easily remove the bars from the pan by pulling up on the edges of the parchment. I opted not to use parchment for a cleaner look when serving the bars from the same pan that I baked them in, and I was able to able to easily remove the sliced bars from the pan with a small spatula.

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg