A thick, soft brown sugar crust sandwiching a heaping apple layer that is drizzled with homemade caramel: you down widat?
It’s been way too long since I made dessert. And WHO EVEN SAYS THAT. Not me, normally.
For the majority of my life, I’ve been basically a walking sweet tooth. But the truth of the matter is that something happened to me after coming back from the Philippines or maybe after going sugar free for a period of time. Or also, as I’m getting older. 😑 But, ignore. I just don’t need the after-dinner dessert the same way I used to.
Don’t get me wrong – I have new vices. Mostly vices named salty chips, creamy dips, and all kinds of cheese.
So here’s the miracle of the moment: even though my epic sweet tooth has sort of abandoned me in the last few years, and even though I’m not one to normally choose an apple dessert (just gimme the chocolate already), these bars with their caramely apple layer tucked in by a brown sugar-y crust on both sides absolutely rocked my world in the best possible way.
When I went through a list of potential dessert ideas that I wanted to try for fall, Bjork voted for this apple crisp bar concept right away, no hesitation. These bars were still just an idea at this point, mind you. And I was not impressed. I had included “apple crisp bars” on my list of choices more out of obligation to fall, you know? It’s not like I actually wanted him to CHOOSE the apple crisp bars. He always chooses the fruit desserts, ALWAYS. It’s sort of a point of contention for us, like these sorts of things are for couples that are only half foodie.
But because I’m so over-the-top generous 💗 I decided to make the man some apple crisp bars.
And then weeeeird things started happening. Like one night, out of nowhere, I found myself eating not one not two but ___ of these apple crisp bars, and not only that but they were – wait for it – cold out of the fridge. COLD out of the fridge. It doesn’t even work – where’s the a la mode version with melty ice cream?! This is a fall food crime.
But I’m here to tell you – cold straight out of the fridge. Rules were made to be broken.
These bars are a combination of a few things like my Grandma’s apple pan pie and my Grandma’s apple crisp (hi grandma!) and my favorite caramel chocolate bars and a new pumpkin bars recipe with caramel that I made earlier this year – yes, earlier – judge me, go ahead. Basically it’s a combination of all the good desserts of my life featuring Wholesome! Organic Light Brown Sugar in the crust and again in the caramel.
Wholesome! makes yummy sugars, sure, yes.
But you guys – BONUS: they are also the largest supplier of organic, non-GMO and Fair Trade sugars, syrups and honeys here in North America. They actually pioneered the certification process for Fair Trade honey to the United States. That is a big, important deal. Obviously the other super important thing about Wholesome! is that you can find all of their seriously fun products at Target. 👏
This is my jam on so many levels.
Brown sugar crust, paper thin apples, buttery caramel sauce… hop to. 🍎🍏🍎🍏
These layered bars are so simple! Loaded with homemade caramel and apples. Caramely apple layer tucked in by a brown sugar-y crust on both sides.
For the Crust
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup Wholesome! Organic Light Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups flour (see notes)
For the Filling
- 4 small apples
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cream or half and half
- 1/4 cup Wholesome! Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar
- Crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter and brown sugar with electric mixers until creamy. Add the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and flour. The mixture should be crumbly. Set aside one cup of the mixture; press the rest into a 9×13 baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes.
- Filling: Quarter the apples and scoop out seeds/core. Slice the apple quarters with a mandoline slicer to get ultra paper thin slices (or slice by hand, cutting as thin as possible). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar; when the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is JUST about to start bubbling, add the cream and stir until a creamy sauce forms. It should coat the back of a spoon.
- Assembly: When the crust is done, arrange the apples in an even layer over the crust and pour the caramel over the top. Sprinkle with remaining crust crumbles from step one. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar for sparkle and crunch. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, lift out of the pan using the edges of the parchment paper, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut and serve.
When measuring the flour, I usually just scoop my measuring cup right into the bag. If you are normally more precise with the spoon-measuring, you might need a little more flour to make up for the difference. Just look at the texture – if the dough forms crumbles, you’re good.
This post is sponsored by Wholesome! We majorly appreciate their sugars, their mission, and their partnership.