Apple pie bars with salted caramel

Big-batch blondies full of flavour!

My husband is an eager and accomplished taste tester, however he doesn’t like chocolate, so I have to keep creating new desserts that cater to his preference. Thankfully, I’ve had a longstanding love affair with blondies, an old-fashioned sweet treat with a rich, chewy texture and aromatic vanilla flavour. A basic blondie recipe can be dressed up in lots of different ways, including with the addition of cooked spiced apples and salted caramel baking chips. To up your presentation game, once the pan has fully cooled, trim 1/4 inch (.6 cm) off the outside of the block of bars, all the way around, before cutting into smaller pieces. Of course, the trimmer gets to eat the tasty trimmings!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 mL) finely diced peeled, cored apple (about 1 large apple)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each ground cloves, cardamom and allspice
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel (or butterscotch) baking chips

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 13 inch (22.5 x 32.5 cm) baking pan with parchment paper, being sure to leave some paper hanging over the sides as handles. Set pan aside.
  • Put diced apple, butter, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and allspice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until apples have begun to soften. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one), beat brown sugar and butter until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again until well blended.
  • Combine flour and baking powder then add to brown sugar and butter mixture. Beat until blended.
  • Add cooked apple (scraping the pot so all the spices go into the batter as well) and salted caramel baking chips to the batter and fold in with a wooden spoon or flexible spatula.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and spread so it fills the pan evenly.
  • Bake 23 – 25 minutes until top is glossy, just beginning to crack and feels firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour in the pan. After 1 hour, lift out of pan using parchment paper handles and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Cut into bars approximately 1 x 3 inches (2.5 x 7.5 cm) and serve as is or with a scoop of ice cream.
  • Put leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Makes approximately 3 dozen bars.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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