Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away—Caramel Apple Bars


Sniff, sniff, cough, cough.  Everyone and their mother (literally) is sick at my house.  Do I  sense a sniffle or two coming from your direction as well?  I, doctor of nothing, prescribe to you a healthy dose of apples, topped with caramel, tucked inside sweet and tender, slightly salty crumbles.

What can one count on more in a germ laden, tissue box tug o’ war grabbing home than a beautiful pan of sweet, delicious Caramel Apple Crumb Bars? Apples are the legendary curative, no?

Wait, were you thinking chicken soup was in order or perhaps my “Take Care of Yourself” Spinach Soup? Nah, this bevy of blahs at my house called for the big guns—something all four of us would eat and something sweet and homey that would cheer us up and tell us once and for all that life is what you make of  it and to stop wallowing in our Nyquil inspired, hallucination filled nights.

These babies are exactly what the doctor ordered or, at the very least, what we needed for a quick pick-me-up.  The simple, simple crumbly mixture on top and bottom is made up of those good-for-you oats (see, healthy all the way…just don’t tell Joanne from Eats Well With Others…she might beg to differ) and a couple of bad boy  ingredients like butter and sugar to make such a soft and sweet, yet slightly salty and crunchy perfect outer layer.

The filling…you and I could get into lots of trouble with this filling. My daughter and I got in our fair share of tiny spoonfuls of trouble with the left over drips of the caramel sauce that gets slathered over the chopped, tart Granny Smith apples.

I am hard pressed to find any health value whatsoever in the caramel sauce, but it definitely took the edge off of our weakened state and ramped us up a bit (perhaps that was the sugar high?) as we stuck our finger in for one more taste.

What? You think in your sorry state, that you are not capable of baking ANYTHING from scratch? I call BS.  Do you remember that card game? Notice the short, very short list of ingredients.  I was sick and miserable yesterday and managed to pull off these babies hopped up on cold medicine so I feel confident that any of you can whip this up in no time flat.

Sadie giving her opinion on the photo shoot.

Yep, it’s a challenge.  I have officially thrown down the gauntlet.  If I even had the slightest idea how to “trash talk” you, I would at this very given minute, but truthfully, I am much more of a hugger than a fighter so instead I will use my imaginary pom poms (I have never, ever had my own), and jump up and down and shout from the rooftops that YOU CAN DO IT.

Now go make your own batch of my apple bar prescription.  See if it makes you feel better, and if it doesn’t, you still end up with a delicious caramel apple cookie bar.  Win, win.

Caramel-Apple Crumb Bars
Taken from Nancy Baggett’s All-American Cookie Book
Makes about 16-18 bars

Crumb Mixture
2 2/3 c. all-purpose white flour
1 2/3 c. quick-cooking oats (not instant oats)
2/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, melted
2 c. peeled and chopped Granny Smith or other tart apples (4 medium)

Caramel Sauce
1 c. heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 c. light corn syrup
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. all purpose white flour
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

For the crumb mixture: Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray coat a 9×13 pan, preferably glass, on the bottom and sides.  Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt and butter with a rubber spatula or best yet, with your hands.  The mixture should end up as course crumbles.  See photo above.

Press 1/2 of the crumbly mixture firmly in the bottom of your prepared pan.  Bake for 10 minutes and then set on a wire rack.

While the crumb mixture is baking, make your caramel sauce: In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  DO NOT LEAVE THE POT! I mean it. Adjust the heat so the mixture boils mildly briskly.  It should boil about 6-8 minutes, until it reaches 244 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.  Immediately, remove the pot from the heat when it reaches the desired temperature.  Stir in the flour and mix until evenly combined.  Stir in the vanilla.

Peel and chop your apples into a 1/2 inch or so dice. See photo above.  Sprinkle your apples evenly over the pan and then pour the caramel sauce over the apples, trying to disperse the caramel in equal amounts.  Top the apples with the last half of the crumb mixture.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges turn a little darker than the center.  Transfer to a wire rack and carefully run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the caramel from around the sides.  Let stand until completely cooled and then cut into bars.

Serve with a tall, icy cold glass of milk.  It will just be that much better.

48 thoughts on “An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away—Caramel Apple Bars

  1. Geni, Perfect timing for my coworkers and friends as we are all battling some type of cold these past 2 weeks! And what better than bad boy ingredients when feeling a bit blue!! p.s. Sadie is just the sweetest!

  2. Given that I will someday be a doctor, I highly endorse these bars to cure just about anything. Especially hunger. They look delicious!

  3. It’s tea time here and I would love a few slices of your apple bars. :-)) Very very very delicious with that tempting streusel.

  4. I hope you all feel better soon, I have feeling that your Caramel Apple Crumb Bars will do that..I love the way the recipe sound, and it looks really tasty!!!

  5. I dont care how sick I get, these would definitely make me feel better!

    I LOVE that picture of your dog. So adorable. 🙂

  6. I can definitely see how these bars would cure just about anything! It looks like even Sadie agrees, with her longing gaze at the apple. I hope that you guys feel better soon! 🙂

  7. These look like something my husband would LOVE and what co-workers would gobble-up at the next potluck. Sadie is such a super cute pooch! Not as cute as mine, but she definitely is super cute! I hope your family gets to feeling better soon!

  8. YAY! I love apple deserts! And Sadie looks extra cute in this picture!

  9. Apples and caramel! What could be bad!

  10. This prescription would be perfect, I just need someone to do the baking! I have been sick in bed for 2 days. That’s what happens when you brag about not getting sick all winter – WHAM!
    These are absolutely mouthwatering! I will try them. They look sinfully delicious.

  11. Geni- I hope that you all are feeling better. The apple bars look so good and Sadie is adorable 🙂

  12. Exactly what the doctor ordered I assume! Who wouldn’t feel at least a small bit better after eating this?!
    Beautiful blog you have here- and you photos are a lovely also!


  13. That would make me feel better! Looks fantastically delicious.
    Hope you feel better. Sweet pup 🙂

  14. No one at my house is sick, but I think I’m going to call this preventative medicine and make it anyway 🙂 I love caramel and apples, and this recipe looks delicious!

  15. YUM! This looks fanTAStic! And I love the photo of Sadie with the apple, she looks so sweet! 🙂

  16. You bake the very best delights.

  17. You are amazing for posting this recipe. These bars look delicious and I can’t wait to make them this weekend!! I hope you and your family get better soon 🙂

  18. oh my gosh! those look incredible and the PERFECT way to make sure you’re getting those apples 🙂

  19. That’s what it was like for me 2 weeks ago. Everyone around me was sick. But I think I will try out that spinach soup, that might be good. And these Caramel Apple Bars look delicious. The dog looking at the apple is the funniest but cutest picture ever. Love it.

  20. That apple drenched in caramel sauce looks good already for me, I think I will not stop sticking and lickin my fingers in that sauce.

  21. You had me at caramel. You had me… at caramel. =)

  22. These bars look great.I m a big apple fan.Would love to bake these to snack on.I love the shot with your pet..he’s so cute 🙂

  23. I love apple-based desserts. This looks lovely!

  24. These look just heavenly. I’d get out of my sick bed to eat them!

  25. what a wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to try it out. It would be heavenly to have a piece with a cold glass of milk, a roaring fire in the background curled up with a good book. As Always thanks for sharing.

  26. Geni, what a great way to have your one apple a day…we are not sick, but will not be sick in order to have a piece of this yummie bar…have a great week ahead 🙂

  27. Geni, this is definitely a healing food, looks so good from where I’m sitting. 🙂

  28. Feel better soon Geni……

    sending hugs,…from a distance….no germs wanted here…. thanks.

  29. Those are terrific looking bars! love the pooch too.

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  31. Yum (x 100!) These looks incredibly delicious… a perfect try for… tonight 😉

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  32. Pingback: Caramel Apple Crumble Bars « Misadventures in Cooking

  33. I made these tasty little morsels today! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe. I linked my post about it back to you. 🙂

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  35. I just made this recipe, and it is sooooooooooooo good. My daughter, who is a picky eater, loved it. And my co-workers are already placing their orders for Christmas…. Thanks much….

  36. Pingback: Big Game Football Party Menu Recipe Roundup

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