Caramel Apple Crumb Bars with Infused Whipped Cream
For the crust:
- cup ½unsalted butter melted
- cup ¼sugar
- 1 teaspoon VANILLA BALSAMIC VINEGAR
- teaspoon ¼salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
- 1 teaspoon CINNAMON PEAR BALSAMIC
For the topping:
- cup ½old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon CHINESE 5 SPICE
- cup ¼all-purpose flour
- cup ¼unsalted butter cold and cubed
For the caramel:
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons salted butter room temperature cut up into 6 pieces1
- cup ½heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ESPRESSO VINEGAR
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup very cold heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon WHITE RASPBERRY or GRAVENSTEIN APPLE BALSAMIC
- Preheat the oven to 300° F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit of overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Begin by making the crust. Stir the melted butter, sugar, vanilla balsamic, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking combine the apples, flour, sugar, pie spice, and cinnamon pear balsamic in a bowl and toss until the apples are well coated. Set aside.
- Next make the topping by whisking the oats, brown sugar, spice mix and flour together. Work in the cubes of chilled butter with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and butter is roughly incorporated.
- Remove the crust from the oven and increase the temperature to 350°. Layer the apple filling over the crust evenly and cover with the prepared topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is bubbly and topping is nicely browned. Let cool for 20 minutes on the counter and then refrigerate for an hour or two so the bars can set.
- To make the caramel sauce, heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts into an amber colored liquid. Once the sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter one piece at a time being careful as the water in the butter will spatter. Stir until butter is all incorporated, 1-2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the cream. It will boil vigorously and could bubble over so be very careful and stir constantly. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in espresso vinegar and salt. Allow to cool down slightly before using.
- To make the whipped cream, in a very cold bowl of an electric mixer add all of the ingredients and whip until medium to stiff peaks form.
- Remove the bars from the refrigerator and using the parchment overhang lift them out of the baking pan. Cut into 16 squares and drizzle with the salted caramel. When ready to serve top with the infused whipped cream.
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