These Caramel Apple Bars are perfect for fall. Easy to make with a base of cinnamon oatmeal crunch and topped with fresh apples that taste just like mom’s homemade apple pie. Of course, we had to add a caramel drizzle that really puts these cookie bars on a whole ‘nother level!
Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Our assignment this month for Creative Cookie Exchange is layered bar cookies. Don’t you just love bar cookies? They’re so easy to make and so yummy! You don’t have to make individual cookies, just plop the batter in a pan and bake. And, since it’s fall, I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than these caramel apple bars.
I can remember, as a child, how exited I was when we traveled to the cider mill about an hour from our house in northern New Jersey. It was always such a thrill to watch them bring the apples from the orchard and press them into fresh and delicious apple cider. And you got free tastes too! Now whenever autumn rolls around I always think of the crisp cool air and the smell of apples. And of course all the happy memories of family outings that centered around our trips into the country.
I’ve made some delicious bar cookies before, like my Chocolate Mint Cookie Bars and Pumpkin Chocolate Spice Bars, but being fall, I wanted to make something that used one of my favorite fruits, apples. Boy am I glad I did! These sweet treats are like a little apple pie that you can hold in your hand, with the added touch of caramel to put them over the top. And they’re so easy!
How to Make Caramel Apple Pie Bars
In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Take 3/4 cup and place in a smaller bowl, add pecans, and set aside. This will be your crumb topping.
- To the original mixture add the vanilla extract and mix well. This will be the cookie base. Pour into the prepared square baking dish and pat evenly into bottom. (photo 1)
- Bake for 15 minutes. (photo 2)
- While cookie base is baking make the apple layer. Mix all apple layer ingredients together. As soon as cookie base is done, remove from oven and cover with apple mixture. Pat gently into place. (photo 3)
- Sprinkle crumb pecan topping over apples and return to oven. (photo 4)
- Bake 30 minutes. Cool then place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (photo 5)
- Remove bars from refrigerator. Lift carefully from pan and place on wooden cutting board. Cut into 16 small squares. (photo 6)
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar then drizzle with melted caramel. Place in airtight container and store in refrigerator.
These caramel apple bars are my little piece of fall here in Florida since we won’t get any cool weather for another couple months. (OK, update, now I’m in Georgia and I’m still enjoying them. 🙂 ) Each bite is like a reminder fall is finally here. These caramel apple bars offer up sweet apples, topping an oatmeal cookie base, then sweetened some more with a boatload of crumbs and an extra drizzle of caramel. The perfect after school snack or a great pic-me-up for mom.
And don’t forget to check out more sweet treats from our cookie exchange members below. Hope you enjoy!
More Fall Favorites That You Won’t Want to Miss
Easy One Bowl Apple Cake by yours truly (2CM)
Maple Pecan Sticky Buns by 2CM
Easy Apple Crisp by The Forked Spoon
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies by 2CM
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Perfect for fall, these apple pie bars are easy to make and taste like mom's apple pie. A caramel drizzle puts these cookies in the over the top delicious column!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter, cold
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 apples, peeled, cored & cubed
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- Powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup Kraft caramel bits, melted
- 2 teaspoons water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. The parchment paper should come up and over the sides. This will allow you to lift the cooked bars out of the dish so they can be cut.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Take 3/4 cup and place in a smaller bowl, add pecans, and set aside. This is your crumb topping.
- To the original mixture add the vanilla extract and mix well. Pour into the prepared square baking dish and pat evenly into bottom. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- While cookie base is baking make the apple layer. Mix all apple layer ingredients together. As soon as cookie base is done, remove from oven and cover with apple mixture. Pat gently into place.
- Sprinkle crumb topping over apples and return to oven. Bake 30 minutes.
- Cool on wire rack for 30-45 minutes then place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Melt caramel bits and water in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment. Usually takes about 1 minute.
- Remove bars from refrigerator. Lift carefully from pan and place on wooden cutting board. Cut into 16 small squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar then drizzle with melted caramel. Place in airtight container and store in refrigerator.
The best apples to use for this are Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jonathan or Winesap.
This post has been updated with step-by-step instructions for easier baking. It was first published on September 22, 2015.
The theme this month is Layered Bar Cookies–if you like crispy, crunchy, chewy, creamy or gooey layers packed into one cookie you have come to the right place!! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!
Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of our bloggers have made this month:
- Caramel Swirled Cheesecake Bars from The Spiced Life
- Hawaiian Layer Bars from Food Lust People Love
- Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars from Spiceroots
- Club Chocolate Peanut Butter Layered Bars from Our Good Life
- Nanaimo Bars from A Shaggy Dough Story
- Gooey Pumpkin Cookie Bars from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Magic Peanut Butter S’mores Cookie Bars from Rhubarb and Honey
- Double chocolate caramel squares from Flours and Frostings
- Caramel Apple Bar Cookies from 2CookinMamas
- Layered cookies for Bappa from ISingCakes
- Churros Cheesecake Bars from A Baker’s House