Caramel Apple Cookie Bars

If you follow my posts, you know I've been making a lot of apple recipes for fall.  A LOT.

Well, I had a dilemma.  One day, I wanted both a cookie and an apple pie.  What to do?!  I decided to make a combination...and it's pretty tasty.

The cookie crust tastes like a snickerdoodle, my favorite cookie, plus it's gluten-free and paleo (and vegan, of course)!

Ingredients:
Adapted from Ditch the Wheat

2 c. almond flour/meal
1/4 c. coconut oil, softened
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 T. bourbon or other type of alcohol

2-3 small apples, sliced thin, preferably organic

For the caramel:
Adapted from Against All Grain

1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 T. organic non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum
1/2 c. almond milk, or other non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 T. bourbon

additional cinnamon and vegan sanding sugar, for dusting

Directions, for the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 8x8 oven-safe pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the 6 crust ingredients.  Once mixed, press the dough down and flatten it evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake it for 15 minutes.

cookie pressed down.jpg

Place the sliced apples in a pleasant pattern and dust them with sanding sugar and cinnamon, if desired.  Bake the crust/apples for an additional 20 minutes.

For the caramel:
Bring the maple syrup to a low boil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure even browning.

Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the shortening, milk, and salt. Return to heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes. As you remove it from the heat, add your splash of bourbon while continuing to whisk the caramel.  Cool for 10-15 minutes

If the caramel hardens too much, put it back on the stove under low heat. It will soften up.

Drizzle the caramel over the apples and crust and top with sea salt.

Slice it up into 9 or 12 pieces and enjoy with your favorite cup of tea!

Cheers,
-Aileen

This post is affiliated with Vegan Mofo.  Check out #VeganMoFo on social media for ideas and recipes during the month of September.