I baked this morning before heading downstairs to the studio and came up with these bars that may remind you more of Fall rather than Spring, but I only had apples or oranges on hand. Anything apple and spice at our house is always welcomed. The moistness the cooked apples provide make these "hand-held" pies worth baking for snacks, lunch, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Caramel Apple Pie Bars
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. Apple Pie Spice
2 cups + 2T King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped Granny Smith Apples
6 T unsalted butter, melted
4 T milk
3-3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 T caramel sauce
1 T Light Karo Syrup
Preheat oven to 375F-degrees. Lightly grease a "jelly roll pan" and set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and shortening together. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down sides once more. Add the vanilla extract and Apple Pie Spice and mix again on medium speed.
Measure the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Make sure the dry ingredients are incorporated, but don't over mix. Stir in the chopped apples and spread mixture onto the prepared pan.
Bake 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes while you make the glaze.
Melt the butter for the glaze in a medium sauce pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk and vanilla. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time until you get a thick glaze. Add the caramel sauce and stir to combine. Pour over the apple bars, then, spread with an off-set spatula.
The recipe makes 24 bars and I can honestly say on a rainy day and a cup a tea, these are perfect. Enjoy!