County Fair Caramel Apple Bars

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County Fair Caramel Apple Bars

star rating (5) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Caramel and apple is always a winning combination. These bars, cut in 3" squares and topped with ice cream, make a delicious plated dessert. Cut smaller, they pack nicely in your lunchbox.

1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (5 5/8 ounces) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (3 1/4 ounces) nut flour*
1 large egg

4 to 5 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced, then chopped (about 5 cups, about 20 ounces prepared)
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) brown sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) boiled cider, or substitute an additional 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup (10 ounces) caramel, from a block, or about 30 caramel candies
2 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) milk or cream

*Almond (toasted or plain), hazelnut flour (toasted or plain), and pecan meal are all good choices. Or grind 1 cup nuts in a food processor; be sure to stop before the mixture becomes pasty.

**Or use our prepared caramel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan or 10" x 10" bun pan.

To make the crust: Beat together the butter, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, sugars, and vanilla till smooth. Add the flours, mixing till crumbly. Set aside half the mixture (about 3 generous cups, 15 ounces); add the egg to the remainder, beating to combine. Press the crust with egg into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 17 minutes, till it's barely starting to brown around the edges. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.

To make the filling: Slice the apples about 1/4" thick, then chop into 1/2" to 3/4" pieces. An apple peeler/corer/slicer gives you a great head start on this task. Combine the apples with the remaining filling ingredients, and distribute over the crust. Spread the reserved crust mixture over the apples.

Bake the bars for 45 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and after 15 minutes cut them into squares, leaving them in the pan. Cool completely, then place the bars on a rack set over a piece of parchment.

To make the topping: Place the caramel and milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup, and heat till the caramel is very soft. Stir (reheating if necessary) till the mixture is smooth and pourable. Drizzle it over the bars. Yield: 16 to 24 bars.


  • star rating 11/29/2011
  • CaliGirlJess from KAF Community
  • I used this recipe from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion book (which I love, probably my favorite cookbook). The book's recipe include instructions on making a homemade caramel to top the bars with. The bars themselves were really average. Almost a reverse apple crisp but with more crisp than apple. Normally, I would approve but the instructions in the book have you pour the caramel on before baking and it just disappears. I think more apples would improve the bars overall... but then they wouldn't really be bar-y. Now, the homemade caramel recipe in the book (on the other hand) is AMAZING. I wrapped the caramels for a friend who told me it was the best thing she had ever eaten in her life. I would say that's a compliment! I will definitely be making that again.
  • star rating 04/27/2011
  • Sae Sae from KAF Community
  • I am an avid baker. These bars were delicious. When good recipes are followed correctly the results are always wonderful, especially King Arthur Flour recipes. Loved!
  • star rating 11/08/2010
  • Michelle from New Hampshire
  • This sounded like it was going to be great, but I found it turned out a little bland. It was not hard to make and looked nice, but I got mixed reviews. Most thought it was good, but not great. Better for breakfast and not so much for dessert.
    Sorry to disappoint. Perhaps the Apple Slab recipe will be better to meet your taste and texture needs. Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 09/28/2010
  • Jean from Ithaca, NY
  • These are homely-looking but astoundingly delicious, like apple crisp in cookie form. Be sure to use tart apples that will stand up to all the butter and caramel.
  • star rating 10/13/2009
  • Diana from Arlington, VA
  • Love this recipe. It's very easy to make and was gobbled up quickly by my office.