Sometimes you need a backup plan…

I had very ambitious plans for this week.  I had this candy mold that had been sitting in my room since Christmas and I decided this was the week to put it to the test.  I started making a list of all the filled chocolates I wanted to make… nuts, nougat, caramel, mint, peanut butter, coconut…. Long story short, it was already 9:30 on Friday night and I knew  that I did’t have enough time to do the full blown project that I wanted to do.  I make a couple candies with nuts in the center as a trial, and then decided to whip something else up really quick, to satisfy that baking bug. Enter Caramel Apple Bars.

I made these bars of cinnamon-apple-nutty goodness (from My Baking Addiction) a few weeks ago and my family has been begging me for a repeat ever since.  It is a super simple recipe… two bowls, one pan, mega-yumminess.  One quick note on the caramel drizzle… I melted Kraft caramel squares this time around, and when they hardened, the caramel was like a rock hard grid across the top of the bars, making it hard to cut, chew, etc.  Last time I used a caramel sauce, like you might put on ice cream.  It was gooey, not too runny, and I think worked a lot better for these bars.

Caramel Apple Bars Adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped apple (I used a little extra)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1 cup of white sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the apples and walnuts.

3. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the remaining cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the top of the bars.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes in preheated oven; finished bars should spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.
5. Drizzle bars with melted caramel squares (I suggest a caramel sauce, such as an ice cream topper for gooey-er caramel)

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