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Caramel Apple Pie Bars


This is my second autumn making these delicious handheld apple pie bars, and it is definitely becoming an ongoing tradition. My friend Anya came to me last year with an entire crate of sweet, locally grown apples. She didn't know what to do with that many apples, so she thought I would be able to bake with them... and bake I did.

I ended up making this caramel apple pie bar recipe last year and not taking a picture of them because I didn't realize just how tasty they were, and gave most of them to Anya and her family as a thank you.

This year Anya called with another batch of apples in order to bribe me to make these delicious apple pie bars again. It definitely worked.

You can also easily make these bars vegan by simply substituting all of the butter with coconut oil.

Gluten Free Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Prep Time: 1 Hour

Cooking Time: 20 Minutes & 25-30 minutes

Baking Temperature: 350 degrees F

Level Of Difficulty: Medium

Servings: 12-15 bars depends on cut size

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

2 1/4 C (11.25oz) GFK's All Purpose Flour Blend

1/2 C (3.5 oz) Organic Brown Sugar

1/2 C (3.5 oz) Organic Sugar

2 Sticks Butter, Room Temperature

1/2 tsp Salt (only if using unsalted butter)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Apple Pie Filling

1 Lbs (16 oz) Apples, Peeled and Cored

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1 tsp Ground Allspice

Pinch Kosher Salt

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

2 Tbsp Butter

3 Tbsp Organic Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp GFK's All Purpose Flour Blend

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Tbps Orange Juice

2 tsp Rum (optional)

Crumble Topping

1 C GFK's All Purpose Flour Blend

3/4 C Organic Brown Sugar

2/3 C Gluten Free Oats

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 C Pecans, Roughly Chopped (Optional)

6 oz Butter, Salted*

*If you have unsalted butter, add 1/4 tsp salt to the mixture.

Method

Shortbread Crust

The 2 most important things to remember when making this shortbread is for the butter to be perfectly soft and room temperature (the consistency of mayonnaise, but NOT melted), and to not over mix it once the flour is added in.

  1. Leave butter at room temperature for about an hour, or heat the butter in the microwave on medium power for 5 seconds- rotate and repeat 3 times. Then let butter sit out until room temperature. Do not melt butter as the texture will change.

  2. In a medium bowl add room temperature butter, sugar, brown sugar, and salt (if using unsalted butter), mix with a fork. DO NOT mix with stand or hand-mixer, as it will incorporate too much air. Add vanilla and mix again.

  3. Add the Flour Blend and very gently mix with a fork until mostly incorporated, but still Crumbly (it will finish incorporating when you press it into the pan.

  4. Grease a 9"x13" pan and line with parchment paper. With greased hands press the shortbread mixture into the pan until mostly even. To ensure even thickness, place parchment paper on top and smooth with the flat edge of a spatula.

  5. Refrigerate the shortbread for 20-30 min (up to 2 days).

  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Poke shortbread several times so it doesn't puff up too much, and bake about 20 minutes until it is slightly golden on top. Let it cool before layering the apple.

Apple Pie Filling

(Refer to the Apple Pie Filling blog post)

It is easiest to make this part ahead of time and refrigerate it up to 1 week or freeze it up to 4 months.

Crumble Topping

  1. In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine GFK's all purpose flour, brown sugar, gluten free oats, baking soda, and cinnamon.

  2. Similarly to pie dough, make sure that your butter remains cold when mixed into dry ingredients. Chop chilled butter into small pieces (approximately grape-sized) and freeze for 5 minutes.

  3. Mix in butter, either by hand or with a paddle attachment until it's grainy like slightly damp sand, then add pecans. Freeze 5 more minutes before assembling and baking.

Assembly

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Spoon the cooled apple filling onto the shortbread, making sure that there is a layer or two of apples over the whole crust.

  3. Liberally sprinkle the top with the chilled crumble topping.

  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crumble topping is golden brown.

  5. Let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting them into squares (they will be easier to get out of the pan).

  6. Drizzle wth caramel sauce.

These amazing treats last in the refrigerator up to about 10 days, and freeze well too. They are served best at room temperature with extra caramel sauce drizzled over the top. Trust me, these bars are worth the love in labor that goes into them, especially since everything can be done ahead of time.

After giving most of the bars away to Anya's family again this year, her mom told me that "they are out of this world... and that if [they were] my last meal on earth, it would be enough".

I hope I have inspired you to try these out, because it will definitely be worth it.

Happy Baking!

Klippy