Salty peanut butter bars with a gooey apple center.
Meet the Chef: Karlee Flores
Karlee Flores is an award-winning photographer, blogger, and videographer. She’s the creator of Olive and Artisan, a blog that brings home all the comforting words and recipes to her readers. Karlee spends most of her time recipe testing in her Portland Oregon kitchen with her cat, Bruce Wayne and bring back the fun in baking.
For the Caramel Sauce
- C&H® Granulated Sugar 2 cups 2 cups C&H® Granulated Sugar
- 3/4 Butter 3/4 Butter
- 1 cup Heavy Cream 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt 1/2 teaspoon Salt
For the Peanut Butter Bars
- 3/4 cup Butter, room temperature 3/4 cup Butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup Peanut Butter 3/4 cup Peanut Butter
- C&H® Granulated Sugar 3/4 cup 3/4 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
- C&H® Dark Brown Sugar 3/4 cup 3/4 cup C&H® Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Egg 1 Egg
- 1 Egg White 1 Egg White
- 2 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour 2 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt 1/2 teaspoon Salt
For the Apple Filling
- 1 1/2 cup Apple, diced (about 2 medium sized apples) 1 1/2 cup Apple, diced (about 2 medium sized apples)
- 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
- C&H® Dark Brown Sugar 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons C&H® Dark Brown Sugar
Prepare the caramel sauce
Pour C&H® Granulated Sugar into a medium saucepan and set over the stove over medium heat. Stir with a spatula continuously until the sugar begins to brown and stick together.
The sugar will first change from sugar to sugar spheres as they start to stick together and then eventually turn into a brown liquid. This will take around 15 minutes.
Once the sugar has become liquid, stop stirring and place a candy thermometer in and continue to heat until the caramel hits 345 degrees Fahrenheit.
Immediately and carefully add the butter and salt until it is completely melted. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream while continuing to stir. It will bubble vigorously, so be careful. Pour into a tempered glass bowl and let cool at least 15 minutes before using.
Prepare the bar layers
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease and line a 9x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter, C&H® Granulated Sugar, C&H® Dark Brown Sugar, and vanilla together until light and creamy. Add in the egg and egg white and mix just until combined. Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well until a thick, cookie-like batter appears.
Take half of the batter and press it down into the bottom of the baking dish evenly. Place in the freezer while making the filling to set slightly.
Prepare the filling
For the filling, skin and dice the apples. Toss the diced apples, flour, C&H® Dark Brown Sugar, and a tablespoon of the caramel together. Set aside.
Assemble and bake
Take the cookie batter out of the freezer and remove from the pan. Line and grease the baking dish again and fill with the remaining batter. Press evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Pour in the apples and spread evenly to the center of the bars. Take the chilled square of dough and place on top of the apple filling. Lightly press the dough to bars to adhere.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before removing and serving.
1.Best served the day of but can keep up to 3 days covered on the counter. Keeping the bars in the fridge can dry the bars out easily.
2. I love to use the extra caramel to drizzle on top of the bars before serving! Nothing better than more decadence. Adding a scoop of vanilla ice-cream takes it over the top too!
3. If you prefer, you can use store bought caramel sauce, but I’d recommend taking the extra step to make homemade. You won’t regret it.