This recipe is just so yummy. I made it for the first time last year, and I had to make it again this year. I tweaked it only slightly this time around, but it's really just to die for.
You may know that I always add more cinnamon than a recipe calls for. My mother taught me that whatever the recipe says is never enough. In my house, we usually double it. So that's what I did with this recipe (and pretty much anything I ever make that calls for cinnamon). Here's the tweak: This recipe has you make your own caramel to drizzle. It makes more than you actually need, so you can just chill the rest to cut up and wrap individually later. The recipe has you drizzle 1 cup over the top of the apples. This time around I did about 1 1/2 cups, just because I didn't distribute it very evenly to begin with, and it actually made a difference. Last year when I made these, I noticed that the crust -- although still delicious -- started to get soggy on the second day. This time, it stayed pretty crunchy/chewy instead of soggy until the third day (and by then there was only one or two bars left anyway!). So use as much of the caramel as you need to cover the whole thing -- don't be stingy!
Caramel Apple Bars
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon (Double up!)
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ground pecans
2 cups rolled oats
3½ cups sliced apples (about 24 ounces) (I used Granny Smiths, and it was about 2.5 apples)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon (Double up!) 1 cup homemade caramel
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 9x13-inch pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Prepare caramel: Mix caramel ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until it reaches soft-ball stage (230-234 degrees). Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, beat the brown sugar and the next 4 ingredients (through baking soda) until thoroughly combined. Mix in the flour, ground pecans and oats until crumbly. scoop out 1 cup and set aside. Place the remaining crumbs into your prepared pan and press down firmly to coat the bottom.
Toss apples in a large bowl with the salt and cinnamon. Arrange them over the crust. Drizzle 1 cup of warm caramel over the top and the sprinkle with the remaining crumbs you set aside.
Bake 35- 40 minutes until bubbly and the apples are just tender. Remove and let cool until they are just warm to the touch. Cut into squares. Try and let the bars rest until the caramel has set before serving.
(Original recipe here.)