A buttery, tart and sweet dessert that tastes just like pie but is less work. Apple Pie Bars are a take on an apple pie but without the hassle of making a homemade pie. A buttery shortbread crust is baked with tart and sweet cinnamon covered apples then topped with caramel sauce. These are delicious!
Who doesn’t love a good bar? Growing up my Grandma Den Beste had all sorts of bars in her freezer. Chocolate bars, butterscotch, fruit, peanut butter, etc. They were all different but she just called them bars. She would take them out, let them thaw and we would have them in the morning and afternoon with coffee.
Oh the farm life is GOOD.
Even though my Grandma Den Beste didn’t teach me how to bake (she lived 4 hours away. I simply enjoyed her treats when I was younger), her love of baking obviously is in my genes. I truly believe that.
Whenever I make a bar or something that reminds me of her, it truly warms my heart and makes me miss those days of visiting her in Northwest Iowa. She definitely lives in me through my love of baking and coffee.
I have several delicious dessert bars on the blog – my favorite are the blackberry shortbread bars which are the foundation for this recipe. The recipe is just too good to not create more recipes with.
Bring on all the apples this season! Baking with apples is a common thing during the colder months, right? They take on the warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg and coating them with sugar just takes them to the next level.
I. love. baking. with. apples.
You can see how buttery these are – see that bottom layer? They’re so chewy and buttery – it’s insane!
So yes, butter is a huge component of any shortbread recipe. It’s what makes shortbread so good!
The apples add a nice tart and sweet soft texture to this apple pie bar.
A drizzle of caramel is just necessary because apples go so well with caramel so WHY NOT?
And just the look of the crumble shortbread topping makes these so beautiful.
Let’s just agree that apple pie bars are something to be enjoyed. Often.
Please do enjoy!
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- APPLE FILLING:
- 3 small-medium sized granny smith apples, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 small-medium sized golden delicious apples, peeled and sliced 1/4 in thick
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2-3 tablespoons caramel sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray then line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- To prepare shortbread dough, add butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar to your mixer and mix on medium high speed for 2 minutes. Next, add vanilla and mix. Lastly, gradually add in the salt, flour and oats on low speed. Mix until incorporated.
- Press a little over half the dough into the bottom of the pan. Wet your finger to prevent sticking. Bake for 20 minutes then remove from oven. Place the rest of the dough in the refrigerator to chill.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the apples. Add sliced and peeled apples to a bowl and mix in the apple cider vingear or lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a large pot, melt butter. Add apples and cook over medium heat until most of the liquid is gone, stirring often. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Apples will be soft.
- Pour apples over baked crust. Drizzle caramel sauce over apples then crumble the rest of the shortbread over the top. Place back in the oven for an additionall 25-30 minutes.
- Remove and let cool completely before taking them out of the pan using the sides of the parchment paper. Slice and enjoy!