Caramel Apple Bars

9 bars
1 hr 5 min

These Caramel Apple Bars really are worth your time to make. With the buttery shortbread crust, the juicy apple filling, and the cinnamon-y streusel topping….. oh my word. Drizzle some rich caramel over the top, and these Caramel Apple Bars hit all the right notes for fall.

It’s mostly all pantry staples here, friends, so you likely have everything you need to whip these up.It’s apple season, so you’ll have your choice of a wide variety of apple options.

I used Gala apples, because they were on sale at the store, but really, any kind of apple works here. You could even use two different kinds to add some complexity to the flavor!

And if you’ve been to the apple orchard already, this is a great use for some of your haul. 

For the Crust:

Melt your butter, and then add some sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla extract to make the shortbread crust. So much easier than rolling out pie crust!

Just press the dough into the bottom of an 8×8 pan that’s been lined with parchment paper, and spread it evenly. An offset spatula will help you get it into the corners and smoothed out nicely.

Pop the crust into the oven to bake a bit while you make the filling.

For the Apple Filling:

Peel and thinly slice the apples, before tossing them gently in a mixture of flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Layer them across the top of the partially baked shortbread crust.

For the Streusel Topping:

Mix together some old-fashioned oats (not the quick oats– you want the texture of the old-fashioned kind here), with brown sugar, flour, and more cinnamon.

Then use a pastry cutter, a couple of forks, or even your hands, to work in some cold, cubed butter until you have a crumbly mix.

Finally, sprinkle the streusel mixture evenly over the top of the apples, before popping the whole thing back into the oven to finish baking.

When it comes out, it will already look and smell amazing. But let it cool for about 20 minutes, before putting it into the fridge for a couple of hours. It needs that time to set up, and make sure the layers stay intact when you cut it.

I know, it will be hard to wait, but it will be worth it. I promise.

I cut my bars into 9 even pieces.Look at those beautiful layers! Everything about these bars is delicious, but that shortbread crust is addictive. I’m warning you.

And finally, a little bit of caramel drizzle sends these bars right over the top. Like, waayyyy over.

You can make your own caramel, or just use some in a jar or tub from the store.

Yes, these bars are incredible, but displaying them on this 139 year-old Adams & Co. cake stand practically takes my breath away.

Come visit my blog for the details on this amazing antique cake pedastal that I served my Caramel Apple Bars on.

-Niky @ The House on Silverado

Recipe details
  • 9  bars
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 45 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 5 min
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Shortbread Crust:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract Watkins is my favorite
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Apple Filling:
  • 2 large apples peeled & thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup allo-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter cold, cubed
  • ready-made caramel sauce for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on all sides for lifting bars out of pan later. Set aside.
Make the crust: Mix the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour, stirring until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling and streusel topping.
Make the apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl until apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
Make the streusel: Mix the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry cutter, or a fork, (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Remove crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F. Layer the apples on top of the warm crust, fitting them together tightly to get them all in. Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the apples, and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown.
Allow baked bars to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, before placing in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill. Lift the parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars( I cut them into 9 bars).  Once cut, drizzle some caramel sauce on top of each. 
  • These bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. Wait to drizzle with caramel before serving each bar. This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan. Adjust baking time to 45-55 minutes.
Niky | The House on Silverado
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