2apples,peeled, cored & cubed (one tart & one sweet)
Powdered Sugar & Caramel Drizzle
½cupKraft caramel bits or caramel squares,melted
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 ¾ 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.
BEST APPLES TO USEYou want to use both sweet and tart apples for the most flavor. For sweet, choose from Honeycrisp, Fuji, Jazz, and Pink Lady, and for tart, opt for Granny Smith, Jonathan, or Braeburn.VARIATIONSSalted Caramel - just add ¼ teaspoon salt to the melted caramel and stir well. You can also opt to sprinkle a little sea salt over the caramel after it is drizzled over the cooled bars.Gluten-free Apple Pie Bars - use a 1:1 gluten-free flour in place of any all-purpose flour in the recipe.Vegan Apple Bars - substitute the butter for a vegan variety and use a plant-based caramel sauce such as Nature's Charm Coconut Caramel Sauce or, if you prefer, make your own.Opt to use a 9x13-inch pan for a larger batch, just double the quantities and bake for the same amount of time.