I can't believe that Christmas is only 6 days away. Are you still out shopping or enjoying the holidays with your family? Thankfully, I don't have much Christmas shopping to do because Eric and I are playing it low-key this year. We bought Elena one activity toy where she can place the shapes in the box and that's the only present from us that we have under our Christmas tree. She got a ton of presents from both her grandmas' and her aunts that she is trying to open already. Plus, we had bought her big gift of a new car seat, Diono Radian RXT because she had outgrown her infant carrier.
Eric and I also decided to pay it forward this year to those who might need it more, and sponsored a family from a friend's church. We bought presents for the kids and gift cards for the family. Honestly, having Elena in our lives gives us so much perspective and being pregnant again makes me feel really lucky especially after the recent Newtown events. There is not much that we need and it's the simple joys of being a parent that make us feel rich.
When I can, I love to spoil my husband with his favorite foods because he has been the best husband, father and partner that I could ever ask for. Recently, we had an abundance of apples in the house because I have been prepping buckets of homemade baby applesauce for Elena. I had some extra apples to spare for these Caramel Apple Crumb bars that I have had my eye on for awhile. Besides, Eric is a fanatic for apple pie and cupcake (and I) wanted something apple-y sweet, too. It was a win-win situation because this dessert was perfect for my Bestie's birthday meal, too. This is almost like apple pie in but in bar form topped with an oat crumb mixture and oozing with caramel.
Adapted from Annie's Eats
ZipList Add Recipe
For the Filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large (5 medium) apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup of dulce de leche
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x9 baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Prepare the filling. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Prepare the dough. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and mix to blend. Add the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or your hands until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the egg yolk and vanilla. Knead briefly until a crumbly dough comes together.
Place 2/3 of the dough mixture to the prepared baking pan and press down into an even layer. Bake until light golden, about 12 to 14 minutes. Add the dulce de leche evenly over the cooked dough. Layer the cooked apples. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the apples. Sprinkle evenly with chopped nuts, if using.
Yield: 16 bars
Review: Simply scrumptious! Best served warm and with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. This would be a sweet treat to share for the upcoming holidays if you have apple pie fanatics or want to stay away from the typical peppermint flavors.
Elena News: She's crawling! She loves to crawl a couple steps and sit up, but you might have to bribe her with an Iphone or shoe (crazy kid). But she's moving along and not too fast because she knows that she will drive mommy crazy trying to baby proof the entire house. I absolutely adore this photo of her in her bouncer while she's on her tippy toes with her ballerina socks.