So, first off I want to say that I FINALLY got my cast off after 10 long weeks. I still need to wear a wrist splint for another 4 but at least I can take it off! I never realized that now is when the real work begins. My wrist is still very sore and I can hardly move it. I’ll be starting physiotherapy next week so hopefully that will loosen things up a bit. I guess I just assumed that when the cast came off that my wrist would be all better. Wrong! The real work is just beginning…..
Onto more appetizing details, I did make these yummy Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars that I took to a family Thanksgiving dinner. They are like little pieces of apple pie but only better. They have a shortbread crust, a juicy caramel apple filling, and then they’re topped with more of the shortbread. Oh, and it doesn’t stop there! You take a big scoop spoon full of salted caramel sauce, pour it over top, and you’ve got one mouth-watering dessert that is sure to be a hit at any dinner party….or potluck, brunch, breakfast, whatever! These are good, trust me!
I ended up leaving the dinner with some leftover pieces and some caramel sauce so I thought I would freeze them for another time. I wasn’t sure how they would freeze but they ended up tasting just like the day I made them. I left them thaw overnight on the counter and them heated them up with some of the leftover caramel sauce and you’d never know they’d been frozen. Bonus! If you have some apples to use up I would suggest you try these. Make sure you brew yourself a nice cup of tea too. Perfect combination!
Shortbread bars of apple pie drizzled with homemade salted caramel sauce.
Salted Caramel Sauce:
2 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes
Apple Crumb Bars
For the Apple Filling:
5 cups peeled and diced apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the Salted Caramel Sauce:
First, make sure you have all of the ingredients ready. Once you start the caramel sauce you have to pay close attention so you don’t burn it. To begin, heat the sugar over medium high-heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking. It will continue to melt. When the sugar is melted, stop whisking. You can swirl the pan to move the sugar around.
Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. Make sure you watch the pan very closely. This is where it is easy to burn the caramel. You want the caramel to reach 350 degrees F. If you are new to making caramel, I suggest using a thermometer.
As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes.
Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Pour the caramel into a large mason jar and cool to room temperature while you make the apple crumb bars. This recipe makes 2 cups of caramel sauce. You can store the leftover caramel sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To make the Apple Crumb Bars:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
For the apple filling – place the diced apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground all-spice. Pour over the apples and carefully combine. Set aside.
For the dough-in a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or by using your hands, until butter is mixed in, but you still have small chunks of butter. Mix the egg and vanilla together. Add into the flour and butter mixture and combine. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan.
Spread the apple mixture evenly over the bottom crust. Drizzle about salted caramel sauce over the apple filling, about 3/4 cup. Crumble the remaining dough over the apple caramel layer and pat gently.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the squares and serve.
Note-you won’t use all of the salted caramel sauce for this recipe. Store the leftover sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.