Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Caramel Apple Crisp Bars

So, if you are following along with my previous posts, you probably have boatload of apple butter.  I know I did.  And, after a while, putting it on toast or muffins (insert your own joke here…) isn't cutting it anymore.  We still have some in the freezer, too.  So I came up with Caramel Apple Crisp Bars to help use some of it up.  They're really yummy.  You should make them.  :-)

I realize that you can't really see much of the bar underneath the mound of ice cream, nuts and caramel sauce, but my older son had this serving idea, and it was delicious, so I thought I would give you another idea to use (and reason to make this recipe).

Caramel Apple Crisp Bars

1 1/4 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. butter, cold
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup apple butter (homemade or not)
1 small apple, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
1/2 c. caramel sauce (you can use anything you have on hand, but I highly recommend this recipe for Apple Cider Caramel Sauce from Southern Living)

Combine oats, flour, and sugar in a medium bowl, breaking up and clumps of brown sugar.  Cut the cold butter into cubes, then add to the bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, incorporate the butter until the mixture is uniform sizes and crumbly.  Add walnuts and stir to combine. Set mixture aside.

[Alternate method: put oats, flour, sugar, butter and walnuts (chopped or not) in a food processor.  Pulse about 5-6 times to combine.  Butter pieces should be the size of small peas.]

Combine apple butter and chopped apple in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Butter the bottom of an 8x8 inch pan, then pour half of the oat crumb mixture in the bottom of the pan and pat down a little.  Drop spoonfuls of the apple butter/apple mixture on top of the crumb mixture, then gently spread around to evenly distribute over the crust. Combine the caramel sauce with the remaining crumb mixture, then drop by spoonfuls over the top of the apple butter layer.

I need to confess something on this step.  Initially, I put the rest of the crumb mixture on top and was going to drizzle the caramel sauce over it, but then I thought the caramel might burn before the bars were done baking, so I scraped off what I could and put it back in the bowl, then stirred the caramel sauce in to what I had.  That's why it looks kind of funky, but yours will be much prettier!

Put in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 35-40 minutes (top should be golden and edges will be bubbling.

Cool completely.  Cut into squares and serve.  Makes about 16 (if you like them bigger) or 20 (if you like them smaller).  :-)

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