Ingredients: Short bread crust
- 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Ingredients: Apple filling
- 2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)*
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- homemade salted caramel or store-bought caramel sauce
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven. (As the crust bakes, you can prepare the filling and streusel.)
- Make the apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
- Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
- Turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C). Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. It will look like there are too many apple slices, so layer them tightly and press them down to fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars. Once cut, drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top of each. These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even cold
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and drizzling with caramel.
- Special Tools: 8-inch Square Baking Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Rubber Spatula or Wooden Spoon | Pastry Blender
- Apples: I like to use two different kinds of apples for a more complex flavor. I typically use 1 tart apple variety such as Granny Smith, and 1 sweeter apple variety such as Pink Lady. You’ll end up with about 3-4 cups. A little more or less is OK, based on your preference of filling.
- Larger Batch: Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch pan. Pre-bake the crust for 18 minutes, then extend the bake time in step 5 to about 45-55 minutes