Apple Oatmeal Bars with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce {& an awesome caramel apple dip!}

As I’m struggling with letting go of summer, my palate can’t help but navigate toward all things fall. I’ve been seeking out recipes using apples, pumpkins, and…(gasp!)…my stove! Because we grill all year long, even here in the Minnesota Tundra, our oven doesn’t get used much during the summer, except for baking sweets. As the weather cools down, the roasting pans, soup pots, and my favorite Le Creuset French Oven begin to make regular appearances.

Last week I was helping our youngest daughter make a bowl of cinnamon apple oatmeal for breakfast. Yes, it was 90 degrees out, but I couldn’t help my desire to bake something with those flavors of fall. It was almost September, after all!

This recipe for Apple Oatmeal Bars with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce is basically a blondie with oatmeal and apples added to it, all moist and yummy. It’s then taken a step further with a generous drizzle of the most delicious caramel sauce, flecked with the warmth of cinnamon. The caramel sauce recipe started out with my favorite caramel apple dip. And then I jazzed it up a bit for these bars. Now this is my favorite apple dip!

I just love that this recipe does double duty…apple oatmeal bars with an incredible caramel sauce AND enough caramel for dipping all the beautiful fall apples that are beginning to appear. Truly, a win-win situation.

Apple Oatmeal Bars with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce {& an awesome caramel apple dip!}

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients

    for the apple oatmeal bars:
  • 10 T. butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 c. peeled, small diced apples (Use firm tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Haralsons.)
  • for the cinnamon caramel sauce AND caramel apple dip:
  • 1 14-oz. bag Kraft caramels, unwrapped
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 T. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preparation

for the apple oatmeal bars:

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray 9''x13'' pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir together. Fold in the apples and then pour batter into prepared pan, pushing the batter into the corners and spreading evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the cinnamon caramel sauce AND caramel apple dip:

In a medium pan over medium heat, combine caramels, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and salt. Stir occasionally until completely melted. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Let cool. This yields about 3 cups of caramel. Reserve about 1 cup of caramel for the apple oatmeal bars.

Serve the remaining caramel with apples for dipping, warmed or at room temperature.

to assemble the apple oatmeal bars with cinnamon caramel sauce:

To get the look of the bars in my photos, first cut the bars and place individual portions on plates. Drizzle with caramel. It works best if the caramel is just barely warm.

Otherwise, simply drizzle caramel over cooled bars. Let set, and then cut.

Source

from a farmgirl's dabbles

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