Caramel Apple Bars

Despite the name, these are less like caramel apples and more like cobbler in bar form. :) If you love apple cobbler, you'll love husband has been eating them with a side of vanilla ice cream.

And, oh, your house will smell like grandma's kitchen while they are baking!

You will need to dirty up the kitchen a bit making these. You'll need a mixer, 3 bowls, the food processor, oven and microwave. Don't say I didn't warn you. :)

{This was my favorite part of making them. I ♥ my Peel-away! Do you have one?}

Caramel Apple Bars
(source: adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion)

1 c brown sugar
3/4 c unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cardamom
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 c ground pecans
2 c rolled oats

4 large apples, peeled and sliced (I used Honeycrisp)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

10-12 ounces soft caramels (such as Kraft)
3 TBSP milk

Preheat oven to 440. Lightly grease a 13 x 9" pan. Line the pan with foil and grease the foil.

Beat together the brown sugar through the baking soda until well-blended.

Add in the flour, ground pecans and oats; mix on low until combined. Reserve 1 cup and set aside.

Press the remaining crust into the prepared pan.

Toss the apples with salt and cinnamon. Spread over the crust.

Melt the caramels in the microwave with the milk on half power until melted and smooth. Drizzle over apples. Sprinkle on reserved crust mixture. (You can make your own caramel topping here if you are an over-achiever.)

Bake for 35-40 minutes until caramel is bubbly. Let cool to lukewarm. Lift foil out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Using a bench scraper, cut into squares. Allow caramel to firm up before serving (mine never really did...the bars were soft...definitely fork food).

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