**This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KitchenAid. All opinions and text are mine.

 

These dessert bars have a buttery crust and crumble on top, a gooey cinnamon-sugar apple filling, with caramels, chocolate chips, and sea salt sprinkled on top.  

 

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars - These dessert bars have a buttery crust and crumble on top, a gooey cinnamon-sugar apple filling, with caramels, chocolate chips, and sea salt sprinkled on top.

With summer coming to a close and kids back in school, it makes me feel ready for fall flavors and all things apple! It’s one of my favorite fruits to bake with, so naturally, I had to share this new recipe with you!

 

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars - These dessert bars have a buttery crust and crumble on top, a gooey cinnamon-sugar apple filling, with caramels, chocolate chips, and sea salt sprinkled on top.

I bet that when you think of apples, you think of complimentary flavors like cinnamon, and maybe even caramel, but have you tried chocolate with your apple desserts? I’ll tell you what… it’s pretty much amazing!

 

This dessert has apples, cinnamon, caramel, chocolate and even a bit of sea salt for the perfect touch!

 

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars - These dessert bars have a buttery crust and crumble on top, a gooey cinnamon-sugar apple filling, with caramels, chocolate chips, and sea salt sprinkled on top.

I created this dish as an entry for the KitchenAid Apple Challenge. Food Network Kitchens will select the top 4 recipe submissions. The 4 finalists will win a trip for 2 to NYC to push their limits in a live cook-off to cook their dish to be judged by Food Network Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. How cool would that be?!

 

Competitions make me nervous, but the winner will receive the grand prize of a suite of KitchenAid Black Stainless Steel Appliances and a private cooking lesson with Geoffrey Zakarian. Seriously! Have you ever seen black stainless steel? It’s gorgeous! And the fridge has 5 doors! I need that in my kitchen. Plus a private cooking lesson from a famous chef, is just extraordinary!

 

To enter the contest, you just submit a photo and description of your best apple dish, sweet or savory.

 

Submissions can be uploaded through Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #KitchenAidContest, or through these two links: FoodNetwork.com/applechallenge or food.com/applechallenge  

 

The contest runs from 8/17/15 – 9/14/15. Game on my friends! Meanwhile, you can try my apple dessert as inspiration. Here’s how you make it: (The complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.)  

 

Peel and dice up 4 to 5 Granny Smith Apples (about 4 to 5 cups diced).

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

Toss the apples in 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 3 Tbsp lemon juice. Let macerate (release juices) for 5 minutes.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

Melt 6 Tbsp of butter in a large sauté pan, add apples and cook for 10 minutes or until desired softness.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

While the apples cook, prepare the crust.

Using the paddle attachment fitted on a KitchenAid mixer, stir up 3 cups of flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Add 1 cup (2 sticks) of cold butter one Tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running, until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

Add 1 egg and mix until the dough comes together, in large crumbs.

Remove bowl and paddle from the KitchenAid mixer.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

Press 2/3 of the crust onto the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.

I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to press it flat and into the corners.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

Spread the cooked apples on top of the crust.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

Sprinkle with the remaining crumb dough.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden on top.

Meanwhile, cut up 24 soft caramels into fourths, and measure 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1 tsp sea salt.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars  - step-by-step  

Once the crust is golden, sprinkle the cut-up caramels and chocolate chips on top.

Return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes more until the chocolate and caramels are melty.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars    

Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with sea salt.

Allow to cool slightly before cutting and consuming.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars - These dessert bars have a buttery crust and crumble on top, a gooey cinnamon-sugar apple filling, with caramels, chocolate chips, and sea salt sprinkled on top.  

Chocolate Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

Yield 12 to 24 bars depending on size

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 cups Granny Smith Apples, peeled and diced (about 4 to 5 large apples)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into Tablespoons (16 pieces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 24 soft caramels, quartered (I used Lancaster Caramel Soft Crémes; about 3/4 cup of quartered pieces)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer Guittard chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp course sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, toss the diced apples in brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Let macerate (release juices) for 5 minutes.
  2. Melt 6 Tbsp of butter in a large sauté pan, add the apples with their juices, and cook for 10 minutes or until desired softness. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. While the apples cook, prepare the crust: Using the paddle attachment fitted on a KitchenAid mixer, stir flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.
  4. Add cold butter one Tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running, until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add egg and mix until the dough comes together, in large crumbs.
  5. Press ⅔ of the crust onto the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  6. Spread the cooked apples on top of the crust. Sprinkle with the remaining crumb dough.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden on top.
  8. Meanwhile, cut up 24 soft caramels into fourths, and measure ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1 tsp sea salt.
  9. Once the crust is golden, sprinkle the cut-up caramels and chocolate chips on top.
  10. Return pan to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes more until the chocolate and caramels are melty.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with sea salt.
  12. Allow to cool slightly before cutting and consuming.

Recipe Notes

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KitchenAid. The opinions and text are all mine.