I took a poll on social media asking people to vote between Apple Fritters and Caramel Apple Bars.  Honestly,  I knew I would make both during my 12 days of holiday treats, the poll just picked which one was first.  Here is the deal, as a pastry chef it’s hard for me to short cut things.  You’ve been warned.


The Caramel Sauce

This recipe includes a caramel sauce.  Now while you could purchase a caramel sauce or melt down caramel squares with some condensed milk to make a sauce I think you should make your own.  You can check out a quick and easy recipe here.

You’ll need a heavy saucepan, granulated sugar, water, and heavy cream.  It would be very okay to add a splash of vanilla if you so choose.

The cookie base
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon (kosher) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
The filling
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped Honeycrisp apples
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch cardamom

Print Recipe
Caramel Apple Bars
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 45 min
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 45 min
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13” pan with non stick baking spray .
  2. With an electric mixer, cream together brown sugar and butter until creamy.
  3. Beat in salt, baking soda, and spices. On low speed, mix in flour until combined. (The mixture will be crumbly.)
  4. Reserve 3/4 cup of crust and stir in pecans.
  5. Squeeze mixture together into larger pieces. Set aside. Press remaining crust into pan.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, toss chopped apples with granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.
  8. (Prepare caramel sauce)
  9. Scatter apples over crust, then pour on caramel sauce.
  10. Sprinkle on reserved topping.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until caramel is bubbly.
  12. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  13. Use a bench scraper for easy cutting.
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