Updated: Dec 27, 2021
Thanksgiving was upon us, and I was in need of a unique, yet simple, recipe. Year after year, I've made my Caramel Apple Crisp Bites with a graham cracker crust. While these are beyond delicious, I wanted to try something new but similar. I knew I wanted to work with apples, and I also knew I needed something in bar or bite form since I had to bring these treats to a few different locations for all the Thanksgiving festivities.
I went to my trusted website Sally's Baking Addiction, and found these beauties. Apple pie in a small bite form with a streusel on top? SOLD! These are also the perfect size for a Thanksgiving treat since most people (not me) barely leave room for dessert.
These were pretty simple to make. The below recipe makes about 16-20 bars, but it's very easy to double it if needed (see notes below on how!). I even went ahead and made the homemade Salted Caramel Sauce too, but you can use store-bought if that's easier for you or if you're tight on time. Although I will say, I was very intimidated by the thought of making my own caramel sauce, but it was actually quite easy if you follow the instructions closely!
I hope you will give these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bites a try. They're the perfect little holiday treat!
Here's What You Need: Shortbread Crust
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)*
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (40g) old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup (70g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
homemade salted caramel or store-bought caramel sauce
Here's What To Do:
Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
Make the crust: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven. (As the crust bakes, you can prepare the filling and streusel.)
Make the apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C). Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. It will look like there are too many apple slices, so layer them tightly and press them down to fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars. Once cut, drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top of each. These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even cold.
Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and drizzling with caramel.
Apples: I like to use two different kinds of apples for a more complex flavor. I typically use 1 tart apple variety such as Granny Smith, and 1 sweeter apple variety such as Pink Lady. You’ll end up with about 3-4 cups. A little more or less is OK, based on your preference of filling.
Larger Batch: Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan. Pre-bake the crust for 18 minutes, then extend the bake time in step 5 to about 45-55 minutes.