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there’s more to fall than pumpkins

If you go on Pinterest or you read any food or style magazines, then you already know that pumpkins are all the rage! But there is more to autumn than just the glorious pumpkin. Pears and apples shouldn’t be overlooked in fall decorating or cooking.

This quintessential autumn dessert proves that point perfectly.

Autumn Apple-Pecan Bars with Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple-Pecan Bars
1 cup pecans
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples (3 to 4 apples)

Salted Caramel Sauce: Heat the sugar over medium high heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan to move the sugar around and keep it melting and cooking evenly. Bring to a rolling boil.

Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. Make sure you watch the pan very closely. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the salt.

Let the caramel sauce cool for about 12 to 15 minutes in the pan, and stir in the vanilla. Pour the caramel into a large Mason jar and cool to room temperature while you make the apple-pecan bars.  Leftover caramel sauce may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 2 cups

Apple-Pecan Bars:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

Toast pecans in preheated oven in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

 When cool enough to handle, chop pecans and set them aside.

In a large bowl, stir together brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to brown sugar mixture, and stir until just blended.

Stir in apples and pecans.

Pour mixture into prepared pan; spread in an even layer. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Place bars on a platter with the caramel sauce in a bowl on the side so guests may drizzle their own. Or if serving as a plated dessert, place 1 bar on each dessert plate and drizzle with warm sauce.

Makes 15 large bars
Bar recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine

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1 comment

1 Marissa { 10.30.12 at 11:28 AM }

Holy cow this looks so good!

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