These Dulce de Leche Apple Bars are the perfect treat for fall baking- especially if you find yourself with a boatload of apples!
Whenever I come across a recipe that includes the words “dulce de leche,” I’m immediately intrigued. I’m a caramel lover, you see, and dulce de leche puts caramel to shame. It’s infinitely more decadent and creamy, and it does magical things to baked goods too. That’s exactly why these Dulce de Leche Apple Bars appeal to me so much.
Where can you find Dulce de Leche?
You can certainly make it yourself. I have a Homemade Dulce de Leche recipe that you can follow. Warning: you’ll want to eat it all with a spoon! But you can usually find it in the store too. I’ve had luck locating in my local grocery store’s “Latin products” aisle. It comes in a can.
In this Dulce de Leche Apple Bars recipe, the dulce de leche is swirled into an apple-infused batter. More apple batter is then spooned on top.
For the icing, butter is quickly browned in a saucepan and then mixed with powdered sugar, vanilla and cream. If you pour it on quickly, you can simply tip the pan to and fro until the bars are covered evenly. Or you can choose to add icing to individual pieces. My best tip is to add the half and half gradually until you have a desired consistency for your icing. You don’t want it to be too thin.
And if you’re not much of a fan of icing at all, you can make Dulce de Leche Apple Bars with no icing!
That there is pure heaven. You’ll definitely taste the dulce de leche swirled within the bars, and the chunks of apple turn it into over-the-top delicious.
These cut up most easily when chilled until firm. A long, thin knife wiped off after each cut ensures clean edges.
If you are looking for more treats to make with apples, you might also enjoy my Irish Apple Crisp or these Apple Pie Bars. Fried Apple Rings, Caramel Apple Sheet Cake, and Caramel Apple Scones are delicious apple goodies too!
Dulce de Leche Apple Bars
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped apples (see recipe notes below)
- 1/2 cup dulce de leche
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons half and half cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x9-inch square baking pan.
PREPARE THE BARS:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture, just until combined. Carefully stir in the apples.
- Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Drop the dulce de leche by heaping tablespoons over the batter. Drag a butter knife through the dulce de leche to swirl through the batter. Drop the remaining batter over the dulce de leche. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned and firm to touch. Let cool completely.
PREPARE THE ICING:
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium until it begins to brown. Remove from heat. Add to a bowl with the powdered sugar, vanilla and half/half. Beat on high speed with electric mixer until creamy. Drizzle and spread over bars, and chill until icing is set.
- For the cleanest cuts, chill completely and slice into the bars with a sharp, thin knife. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- *You can make your own dulce de leche or purchase it already made. We can usually find it in a can in the Latin section of our local grocery store. The stuff in the can is pretty darn good. You just might want to heat it up for 20 seconds in the microwave before scooping it onto the bars.
- *Suggested apple varieties for this recipe: Braeburn, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathon, Golden Russet