These soft, sweet caramel apple bars with a buttery shortbread crust are easier than pie for Thanksgiving dessert!
Every year for Thanksgiving, I tend to think a little non-traditionally when it comes to desserts. Probably because I already have my method down-pat for the perfect turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, which are reoccurring staples on our holiday table.
So, why not put an extra special, sweet spin on the last course? If you’ve left room, that is…
Don’t get me wrong, we looove a good pie in this house. Some of my first baking memories involve pulling warm, gooey apple pies out of the oven and piling slices high with vanilla whipped cream. But, they are a lot of darn effort. That’s why I play the “keep it simple” card once the main meal is taken care of, and serve up something a little lighter and more unexpected…
These soft, spiced apple crumble bars with an easy homemade caramel layer and crumbly, buttery oat topping are the perfect holiday dessert – and so easy to make, too! They taste just as good as a big slab of apple pie, but with half the effort and time, which we could all stand to save during Thanksgiving. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you’ll have just about died and gone to heaven after one bite! They’re THAT good.
The next time I bake a batch, I’ll probably toss in a few handfuls of fresh cranberries, too. Maybe a sprinkle of freshly grated ginger or lemon zest along with ‘em. With a hint of added tartness, these bars would taste even better, I think!
In collaboration with many other talented bloggers, including Erin from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts, I’m participating in a virtual potluck of Thanksgiving recipes to raise awareness of Feeding America… and for it, I brought these delicious bars! Feeding America is a wonderful nonprofit organization and the nation’s largest hunger relief charity – put simply, their goal is to end hunger in America. Working with a network of food banks, they have a mission to feed America’s hungry and get people involved in the fight to end hunger.
In partnering with Feeding America and my blogger friends, we’re also bringing you a GREAT BIG giveaway! For more details, read below and enter through the widget…
One Grand-Prize Winner Will Receive:
(1) Anolon Nouvelle Copper 11-Piece Set (retail value: $400)
One Runner-Up Will Receive:
(1) Wüsthof Knives Classic 7-Piece Block Set (retail value: $300)
Enter through the widget below!
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Winners will be randomly drawn and announced on Tuesday, November 26th.
Spiced Apple-Caramel Crumble Bars
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups cold butter, divided
- 5 cups 4-5 medium peeled, diced apples
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon pinch ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 2 cups for topping.
- Press remaining crumbs into prepared baking dish. Evenly arrange apples over top.
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining 2 Tablespoons butter. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly; spread over apples. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Let bars cool completely before cutting.
These truly look perfect. I love anything caramel and apple.
I need to make these…like…yesterday.
Georgia these bars look amazing! I Love everything about them – so much better than pie in my opinion. Thanks for joining in the pot luck!
Holy cow are these bars insane!!!! I want like ten of them for breakfast. Beautiful.
These look amazing and your caramel recipe looks super easy to follow. I’m a mess when it comes to caramel, I never know when it turns amber and when to dump in the cream. Will definitely be trying your version!
Yes, yes, yes….apple + caramel + crumble!! Need these bars!
These look heavenly. And I agree, pie can be too much work!
These bars are to die for Georgia!!!
These look amazing, even better than traditional apple pie! I love how easy to make they are, and the caramel layer is to die for. Genius idea, Georgia ;D
These bars look absolutely amazing!!
WHYYYYY have I never made crumble bars like these before?!? That must change immediately!!
What gorgeous bars for a wonderful cause from a fabulous group of women! Thakns for a decadent recipe and for reminding us all to give back. You just rock my socks.
Oh, my. There’s not much to say other than I must make these ASAP!!! Wow.
I could eat 57 of these bars, Georgia! Beautiful!
Wow, these look insane. I wish i could eat a few of them right about now :-) Great pictures!!
I love that we kind of made the same thing! And apple bars are so much better than apple pie, right?! Dumb old crust. ;) Love the pictures, as always!
These bars look amazing Georgia! I love apple-caramel desserts especially with crumb topping! Pinning these gorgeous photos!
Oh wow, these bars look SO amazing! Perfect for Thanksgiving!
These bars look fantastic… I love anything apple around the holidays, although I’m allergic, thank GOD I can eat them when they are cooked. :-)
So much easier than pie, is right! Love this recipe, Georgia. It is very similar to my apple pie crumble bars. Thanks for sharing and have a great week! Pinning…of course!
These bars look and sound amazing! A caramel layer with apples is just bliss on a fork! Great ideas to add cranberries or lemon zest to these! Thanks for sharing
These look incredible! Love the idea of a bar instead of apple pie. Apple pie is great but it’s fun to mix it up!
I love classic apple pie, but these bars are a great way to switch things up! No worries about making pie crust and they’re definitely great portion control :)
they look yummy!
These apple bars look scrumptious Georgia, all for a great cause!
I am *SO* making these ASAP! I love apples and caramel!!!
What wonderful treats – the apple caramel bars look totally scrumptious! what a great giveaway!
Wow these look incredible Georgia. Definitely makes one want to switch up from the traditional pie method.
Totally wish I had one of these right now! Oh my!
Georgia, your guests are going to be thrilled! What a wonderful way to end the big meal, these look wonderful!
I love the looks of these bars! I’d be extremely happy to enjoy one of these at the end of a big Thanksgiving meal. I’d rather go a bit non-traditional on the desserts myself this year. Bars are the perfect thing!
Wow these would be a nice addition to my Thanksgiving menu. I was drooling looking at them. I’m not sure I will be able to wait until then to try these. Are they as delicious as they look?
These bars look incredible, Georgia! I just want to sink my teeth into one!
Um, yes please! Give me anything in bar form…and especially if that something involves caramel and apples! Looks so good Georgia!
These look incredible! That caramel sauce alone is to die for!
I love apple pie in bar form because it is so much easier to eat!
I want to come to your house for Thanksgiving Georgia! ;) These gorgeous crumble bars may not be traditional but they sure look tasty! Pinned! Have a great week my friend. :)
These bars definitely need to make an appearance on our Thanksgiving table this year!
Georgia these bars are simply stunning. I should be going to be right now and all I want to do is run into my kitchen to make these. Perfect for Thanksgiving or any reason at all. Been a pleasure doing this event with you. xx
The picture of caramel flowing over the apple is making me drool!
Those photos would turn anyone into a believer!
The simple card looks splendid. These bars have me drooling. Pinned.
Please mail these to me immediately. They complete me.
I can’t see any reason to make a pie if you’re serving these little beauties either. And yes to icecream on top!
These look amazing!
I agree! Pie can be so tedious and I’m not good at it. Give me a slab of this any day!
They look so delicious. Great giveaway!
I goto try this soon, looks so good. The topping is out of the world yum looking.
Those caramel crumble bars look so inviting!
These bars! That crumble! I… love it all.
Yummy bars!! Love the crumbled topping :)
its like the best of both a pie ( my favorite apple pie) and a cookie bar! I love this . So creative
These little divine bars are perfect for the Thanksgiving table! Love apples with caramel.
Made these last night and they were SO DELICIOUS that I had to leave a comment – thank youuuuuu for sharing this recipe! These bars were easy enough to make on a weeknight and bring it into work this morning (so my coworkers also thank you for the recipe). Definitely saving this one to my favorites! :)
These bars would be perfect anytime! So irresistible!
These apple bars look perfect for the Thanksgiving dessert table. :) I like the portion size… sometimes I have no room for a large piece of pie. :)
Ohmygoodness, these bars sound like perfection! I’m all good with eating pie, but I’m way more likely to bake a batch of crumble-topped bars, and these are making my recent apple pie cravings turn into apple crumb bar cravings! YUM!
Yum, looking forward to making these bar for Thanksgiving as well as a few other recipes on your YUMMY website! :)
I have been wanting to make something exactly like this – great looking recipe!
My all time favorite. Great recipe. Thanks for sharing.