Sunday, May 23, 2010

Apple Bars

For the kids' Professional Cooking final, we do our own version of Iron Chef. I lay out everything we have, and they have 30 minutes to plan out what they'll do, then an hour to cook their meal. I participated too this year, and it was so fun! I made a carbonara, and they made a steak with pesto and Israeli couscous, and another dish was fried tacos. Everything was great!
As I was looking at the ingredients, I saw caramel, apples, and a cake mix and decided something must be made of those. I based it off of the pumpkin bar recipe we all loved in the fall, and have to say that this was one of my best creations!! You could sub out regular ingredients for the cake mix, but we were following the motto of "work with what you have"!

Caramel Apple Bars
(a different version from the fall recipe, which was also great!!)

5 small (tiny, really!) apples, sliced thin
~1/4 cup sugar
~3 tbsp butter
~1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup caramel bits (I had the already unwrapped little balls and they worked great!)
1/2 cup butter, melted

yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar

Set 1 cup of cake mix aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.
Melt butter over medium low heat, add apples, 1/4 cup white sugar, and brown sugar and cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the apples are soft. Stir in caramel bits and remove apples from heat.
While apples are cooking, combine all but 1 cup of the cake mix with one beaten egg and melted butter. Press in bottom of pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
After removing crust from oven, top with apple mixture (it might mix up the crust a little bit, which is fine--just be gentle when you're spreading it so you don't mix it up too much so you actually have a crust still!).
Combine the reserved cup of cake mix, sugar, and softened butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the apple mixture.
Return to oven and bake 15-20 more minutes, or until the top crumbles are turning golden brown.