Apple and Caramel pie filling surrounded by a crumbly cinnamon-oat crust and topping. These bars scream fall without needing any pumpkin.
I’ve been in absolute Pumpkin ecstasy this fall!
So much so that I am almost forgetting the other big player in the game of fall flavors. Of course I am talking about the good ol’ apple.
These sweet apple caramel bars do such a great job at capturing the warmth of fall flavors – without the use of pumpkin 😉
Since there are oats and fruit involved in these bars, that should qualify them for breakfast food, right?
During the summer I discovered my love for fruity crumb bars. Looking back I think that love originated out of convenience. These Peach Bars and these juicy Apple Blueberry Bars have all the juicy filling benefits of fruit pies without the hassle and time-effort of making, kneading and rolling out a pie crust.
As you can see, I like pie but not really making it. So here we have another fruity pie bar recipe where you get the full flavor experience without the pie hassle 🙂
Here are a few key points that all my fruity pie bars have in common:
- The crust and crumble topping are the same thing. You only mix up one batter (or is it dough), then 1/2 to 3/4 of the mix are baked as the bottom crust while the rest is crumbled over the fruit as topping.
- I really like to use Coconut Oil for the crumb mixture. Especially when using the virgin (unrefined) kind it lends the bars a wonderful tropical hint. If you prefer, you can substitute butter in all my crumb bar recipes.
- I bake the pie bars in a lined 8×8 inch pan. This way they can easily be lifted out of the pan to be cut into bars. I know preferences differ, but I like to use parchment paper for lining. Baking something on aluminum foil for extended periods of time just doesn’t sit right with me, since learning the link between aluminum and cancer.
- To give the topping some sparkle, I add some coarse sugar as last step.
- The key to having a thick, juicy fruity pie-like filling work with easy bars is chilling. After baking, let the bars cool to room-temperature on the counter, then place them in the fridge to chill thoroughly. Attempting to cut them before chilling will only end up in a big mess (ask me how I know 😉
- 2 small tart apples (Granny Smith), thinnly sliced
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter
- 20 soft caramel candies (or ½ jar caramel ice cream topping + ⅛ cup flour)
- 1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 8x8-inch baking pan.
- Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add melted coconut oil and mix to a crumbly texture. Add 1 tablespoon more flour or melted oil if mixture is too wet or too dry. Press ¾ of the mix into lined baking pan and bake for 7 minutes.
- Spread apple slices evenly over crust. Microwave caramel candies ti melt them. Drizzle melted caramel over apple slices. (Alternatively you can combine ½ jar caramel ice cream topping with ⅛ flour and pour over apples).
- Top with remaining crumbs and sprinkle with coarse sugar to add sparkle. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden-brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill thoroughly in the fridge before cutting into squares. Store bars in the fridge.
- Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, or just as they are.
Do you have any favorite apple recipes for fall?
Here is my Apple Caramel combination from last year: