Apple and caramel pie filling surrounded by a crumbly cinnamon-oat crust and topping. These Caramel Apple Pie 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?
Fruity Crumb Bars Are Simply the Best
During the summer, I discovered my love for fruity crumb bars. Looking back, I think this love originated out of convenience. These Peach Bars and these wonderful Apple Blueberry Bars have all the juicy, filling benefits of fruit pies without the hassle and 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 🙂
Commonalities in Fruity Pie Bars: Reference
This is a bit different to how I usually write posts. However, I think this is more or less a compendium of combined knowledge of how all my fruity pie bars are similar to one another.
- The crust and crumble topping are the same thing. You only mix up one batch batter (or is it dough), then ½ to ¾ of the mix is 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 8x8 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 the last step.
- And finally, the key to having a thick, juicy, fruity pie-like filling work 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 😉
Caramel Apple Crumble Bars
- 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 coconut oil melted, 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.
Pin this Caramel Apple Crumble Bars recipe for later?
Do you have any favorite apple recipes for fall?
How about these!
For apple pie, it's best to use a combination of apples that hold their shape well during baking. Varieties like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Braeburn are popular choices due to their firm texture and balanced sweet-tart flavor.
A runny caramel apple pie might be due to the apples releasing excess moisture during baking. To prevent this, ensure you are using the right type of apples that hold their shape well. Additionally, allowing the pie to cool and set for an adequate amount of time after baking can help the filling thicken.
Cornstarch is used in apple pie as a thickening agent for the filling. It helps absorb excess liquid released by the apples during baking, creating a thick and cohesive filling that holds together well.
Apple pie can sit out at room temperature for about 2 hours. After that, it's best to refrigerate it to prevent bacterial growth. If the temperature is particularly warm, it's advisable to refrigerate the pie even sooner.
To keep apple pie fresh, cover it loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator. This helps retain its moisture and prevents it from drying out. If you're storing it for an extended period, you can also freeze the pie for longer freshness.
When stored properly in the refrigerator, apple pie can remain good for 3 to 4 days. If frozen, it can last for several months. It's important to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming leftover apple pie.