If you checked where I got this and the Marbled Hazelnut Chocolate Cookie recipes from, you'll probably have figured out I got a new cookbook for Christmas. You'll also notice, based on the dates when I made each recipe, that I opened my present before Christmas Day. Yeah, I'm weak. Actually, I got it in the mail from a friend and, based on the size and shape, I figure it would be a cookbook and I would probably want to try something from it right away. Turns out I was right on both counts, ha.
|Just out of the oven|
my favorite snickerdoodle recipe before this to put in holiday gifts and had some cinnamon sugar left over. I didn't want to waste my precious Penzey's Vietnamese Cinnamon so I used it for the top of this caramel apple bar. Which, incidentally, was freaking delicious. A bit rich with all that butter, a bit sweet with the caramel but I loved the combination of butter shortbread crust and top with tart apples and sweet caramel. A winner as a fall dessert.
(I used unsalted)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
14 ounces soft caramels, unwrapped (about 55 pieces of Kraft caramel)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon flaked sea salt
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I used 3 Granny Smiths)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Turn the speed to low and gradually add the flour, mixing until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough in half. Press half into the bottom of the prepared pan. Wrap the other half in plastic and refrigerate until needed.
- Bake the base for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly but leave the oven on.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the caramels and cream; melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Once the caramel is melted and smooth, pour evenly over the top of the baked base.
- Sprinkle sea salt evenly onto the caramel and layer the apples over the caramel evenly, overlapping where necessary.
- Remove the reserved dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly on top of the apples, covering it as much as possible.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is light golden brown and caramel is bubbling. Cool completely before cutting.