These delectable apple crumble bars are easy and simply delicious served with salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream for the perfect dessert.
I have come to the conclusion that apple desserts in any way, shape or form are my ultimate favorite. There’s just no way anything with apples in can be bad. And these apple crumble bars served with a dark amber salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream is my dessert of the moment.
The crumble and base are so easy to make and require only a food processor and a handful of pantry staples. The apple layer is simply apples butter, sugar and a little cinnamon. SO easy. The salted caramel sauce is optional but then again, is it really? These bars come to life when drizzle with salted caramel so actually scratch that. The caramel has got to stay. Serve these warm so the ice cream starts melting a little… I’m not drooling, you are!
Do you cook apples for apple crumble?
Cooking the apples in butter with sugar and cinnamon before making the crumble bars allows them to start softening and also gets rid of any excess moisture they might release during baking.
What apples are best to use?
I like using tart, juicy apples. Granny Smith, Pink Lady (Cripps Pink) and Honeycrisp apples are my favorite to use for any desserts.
Freezing and making ahead
- Freezing: Allow the baked bars to cool completely then slice and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Remove from the wrapping and allow to thaw covered with a tea towel at room temperature before serving.
- Making ahead: These bars can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature. To reheat, place in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Easy caramel apple puff galette
- Classic apple pie with cinnamon cream
- Spiced apple muffins
- Apple fritters with masala sugar
Apple crumble bars with salted caramel
for the cookie/crumble
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup cold butter cubed
- 2 eggs
- 2-3 tbsp ice water
for the apple layer
- 2 tbsp butter
- 8 Granny Smith apples
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar I used demerara sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
for the salted caramel
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup cream
- 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
- To make the crumble mixture, combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- With the motor running, add the eggs and blend until the mixture comes together in a ball. If the mixture looks dry, add the water one tablespoon at a time, allowing it to incorporate, until the dough comes together.
- The dough should be soft but not sticky at all, If the dough is too sticky, simply add more flour.
- On a floured surface, bring the mixture together into a ball.
- Press 3/4 of the mixture into a baking tray (approximately 30cm x 20cm) which has been lined with baking paper.
- Wrap the remaining dough in plastic and place both the baking tray and the dough disc in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, peel and cut the apples into cubes and mix with the sugar and spices and set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- When the dough has chilled, top the dough in the baking tray with the apples and smooth into a single layer.
- Grate/crumble the remaining dough on top then place into the oven.
- Allow to bake for 25-30 minutes until the crumble is golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the salted caramel.
- To make the salted caramel, place the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts. Allow the sugar to caramelize and turn amber in color, gently swirling the pot often to prevent the sugar burning.
- Carefully add the butter and cream. The mixture will bubble up aggressively so take care not to burn yourself.
- Stir until the butter and cream are incorporated then allow to bubble for another 5 minutes.
- Take the pot off the heat then stir in the salt and allow the caramel to cool down. At this stage you can also bottle the salted caramel and keep in your fridge for up to 2 months (however, it will almost definitely not last that long!).
- To serve, slice the crumble into bars and serve with a generous drizzle of the salted caramel and vanilla ice cream.