Caramel Apple Bars

Who doesn’t love a Caramel Apple? The problem is, they can be difficult to eat. The problem is solved with these gooey Caramel Apple Bars.

For the Apples:
2 cups peeled and sliced cooking apples (about 2 large)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
For the Crust:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 extra large egg
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups quick-cooking oats
For the Caramel Filling:
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 14 ounce bag caramel candies

1. For the Apples:
2. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice and then the sugar. Set aside.
3. For the Crust:
4. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
5. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg, beating until combined.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt, and oats. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. In a small bowl, reserve one third of the dough. Press the remaining dough into prepared pan and bake 20 minutes.
7. For the Caramel Filling:
8. While the crust is baking, prepare the caramel filling. Grease a saucepan with the butter, then drop the butter into the pan. Melt the butter over low heat, then add the cream and raise the heat to medium. Unwrap a few of the candies at a time and drop them into the pot. Let those start to melt and stir before adding more. Continue cooking and stirring until melted and smooth. Keep warm if the crust isn’t set with the first baking and needs a little more time.
9. Spread the melted caramel over the crust, then arrange the sliced apples on top of the caramel.
10. Crumble the reserved crust over the apples.
11. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely in pan. Using excess foil as handles, remove from the pan, and cut into bars.

Servings: 24