These easy Caramel Apple Bars have a soft cake mix crust, a gooey caramel center, and lots of apple chunks and nuts. Warm apple squares are a delicious fall dessert, especially when served with vanilla ice cream.
During the fall months I love getting into the kitchen and making delicious desserts with different varieties of apples that we get from the store and the farmers market.
One of my favorite apple desserts are these simple apple squares made with a cake mix.
Why You Will Love These Bars
These apple bars are similar to a 7 layer bar except you use caramel dip instead of the traditional sweetened condensed milk. It makes them so delicious and gooey!
- Easy to make in minutes. Using a cake mix and store bought caramel dip makes the layers come together quickly.
- Loaded with fruit and nuts. The hardest part of this recipe is chopping the apples and walnuts into bite sized pieces.
- So gooey and delicious! Trust me and try one of these easy apple bars with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
This apple bars recipe is so easy to make with just a few ingredients. They bake up soft, gooey, and so good.
- Spice Cake Mix - Using a spice mix is an easy way to add flavor without extra ingredients. If you can't find one, use a vanilla or yellow cake mix and add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg.
- Apple Cider - Gives the dough a little bit more apple flavor. You can also use water or milk in place of it.
- Caramel Apple Dip - You can find containers of this gooey dip in the produce section of most grocery stores. It is usually near the apples.
- Apples - Use whatever apple you like or have on hand. Usually 2 apples is all you will need.
- Walnuts - These really add a good flavor and crunch to the apple squares. If you do not like nuts or are allergic, just leave them out.
How to Make Caramel Apple Bars
Make the cake mix crust. Combine the dry cake mix, melted butter, and apple cider in a medium bowl Mix it until a soft dough forms.
Assemble the layers. Spray your hands with Baker's Joy and press half the dough into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. The crust will be thin. Do not panic! Gently press and move the dough until it covers the bottom of the pan.
Spread the caramel apple dip evenly over the dough in the pan with an angled spatula. Slice and core the apples and chop the walnuts, then sprinkle them on top of the dip.
Bake and cool the bars. Drop the rest of the dough in small pieces evenly over the top. Place in a preheated oven and bake until bubbly. Remove and cool to room temperature.
Decorate and serve. Drizzle the top of the apple bars with simple powdered sugar glaze. These apple bars are delicious served plain, but they are even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.
These apple bars are best kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. They are delicious served cold, or you can reheat squares in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe. Because of the caramel and apples in the recipe they do not thaw out very well.
Tips and Tricks
- Spray the bottom of the 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray, then spray your hands before you try to press the dough out. It helps if you drop dough in different places on the pan rather than one spot.
- The dough is soft and very thin. Take your time as you press it out.
- Dice the apples and walnuts into small bite sized pieces, so they bake easily and quickly.
- Don't like nuts? Skip them or add toffee bits instead.
- Drop small pieces of dough all over the top of the fruit and nuts. Use a spoon to portion it out easier.
- Try sprinkling the top of the dough with cinnamon sugar to give the top a crunchy and sweet texture.
We prefer to use Gala or Honeycrisp apples for all of our baked goods such as pies or bars. You want to choose an apple that holds up while it is baking. Other good varieties are Pink Lady, Jonagold, Granny Smith, or Cortland.
That is totally up to you. We usually save time and leave the peels on for most apple desserts. If you do not like the apple peel texture, peel yours first.
More Caramel Apple Desserts
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*The post and recipe for these Caramel Apple Bars was originally posted September 2013. The photos and post has been updated and republished on October 2022.
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