These Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are the perfect portable sweet bite. A perfectly flaky shortbread crust, bourbon sweet apples, pecan crumb topping, and the most addicting salted caramel drizzle make the best dessert bars!
This is one of those desserts that makes me over the moon excited! First, it uses one of my favorite sweet treats – Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce, which I absolutely love and can never stop eating! Second, it’s portable – which makes it an entertainer’s dream! Third, these apple pie bars feed more people than a pie! Hello big gatherings, work potlucks, school bake sales and church events!
The crust is very easy to make and very forgiving so no need to stress about it. Part of the crust dough is pressed into a baking pan and used as the bottom of the bar. You can press the dough with the palm of your hand or with the bottom of a measuring cup.
I like to use a combination of apples. They all have different textures and flavors and that makes the baking process more excited. Almost like opening a box of chocolates! Would the apples be sweet? tart? crisp?
I like coring the already cut apples with a melon baller, so easy! Then to a skillet they go with some butter, spices and bourbon. Yes, BOURBON!! because we must take this dessert to the next level.
After baking the bottom of the crust, we top it with the cooked apples. Remember the remaining dough? we add some pecans and spices and turn that into the perfect crumble! Bake, cool, drizzle, done! Delicious Apple Pie Bars ready to enjoy!
- I use chopped pecans for the crumble topping because my family loves pecans! Feel free to use walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts or whatever nut floats your boat!
- The alcohol in the Bourbon cooks off. All you are left with is a hint of bourbon flavor. Yes, this recipe is kid friendly! Ask my kids!
- Use Apple Bourbon for an explosion of apple flavor.
- Love dessert bars? Check out this creamy and rich Pumpkin and Cheesecake Swirl Oat Bar. Perfect during fall season, holidays or on a Tuesday afternoon (yes, I mean anytime!)
- My Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce post is filled with tips for making the perfect caramel sauce every time!
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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
For the Crust
For the Apple Filling
- 3 pounds apples (any combination granny smith, gala, golden delicious, etc), peeled, cut in half, cored and sliced into 1/8-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup bourbon
Salted Caramel Sauce - see recipe link
- Make the Salted Caramel Sauce - Link provided
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper allowing excess to extend over the sides of the pan.
To Make the Crust
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars and vanilla extract over medium speed for about 3 minutes or until light and creamy.
- Sift the flour and salt together. With the mixer on low speed add the flour to the butter/sugar mixture slowly. Beat until combine.
- Take two-thirds of the dough and press it into the prepared baking pan into an even layer. It should be about 1/2-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, add the chopped pecans and cinnamon to the remaining dough. Put the bowl back on the mixer and mix on low to combine. You can also remove the bowl from the mixer and mix it by hand.
For the Apple Filling
- In a large bowl, combine the apples and lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and toss to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring often. Add the bourbon and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until some or most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
- Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use your fingers to pinch pieces of the remaining dough and top the apples as if trying to make a crumble.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- When cool, lift the baked bar using the excess parchment paper as handles. Drizzle with the Salted Caramel Sauce. Cut into bars and serve.
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