Caramel Apple Crisp

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Caramel Apple Crisp is one of my family’s favorite fall recipes. The sugary topping has just enough crunch. It’s fun to make and brings back memories of trick or treating when I was a kid. As a bonus, it keeps in the fridge for up to a week (although our version never lasts that long.) Is there anything more delicious than caramel covered apples? I think not. It’s time for this season’s biggest feel-good comfort food dessert recipe!

Salted Caramel Apple Crisp

This Salted Caramel Apple Crisp features a juicy apple filling and a buttery crumb topping! A scoop of vanilla ice cream on top is so delicious! And you can use my easy salted caramel sauce for this recipe!

An easy recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Crisp. So good with a scoop of ice cream on top!
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Caramel Apple Crisp Recipe

Winter is officially in full swing here in the Hudson Valley! which means I’m craving all of the cozy things all of the time. Fuzzy sweaters, scented candles, hot showers, mugs of coffee, and a warm bowl of salted caramel apple crisp can make even the most miserable day more manageable!

One of the best things about this caramel apple crisp dessert is that it’s SO easy! No crust to roll, no dough to chill, no pie to cool. Simply slice some fresh apples, make your topping, pour everything into a baking dish and bake in your preheated oven until the topping is golden.

To serve, add some ice cream or beat heavy cream until nice and fluffy viola – you’ll have homemade whipped cream!

This crisp features everything you love about apple pie, without all of the work!

An easy recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Crisp. So good with a scoop of ice cream on top!
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Best Caramel Apple Crisp Recipe

Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success:

  • You may use homemade salted caramel sauce or store bought salted caramel sauce for this recipe.
  • Don’t slice your apples too thin or they’ll become soggy as they bake. Medium-sized slices will yield the best results.
  • This salted caramel apple crisp is best served warm, the same day it’s made. However leftovers will keep, covered in the fridge, for 3 days.
  • I love to use a variety of apples in this dessert, but just one type will also work. I find granny smith, jonagold, mutsu, and braeburn are all great baking apples.

Caramel Apple Crisp

yield: 1 9×13 pan

prep time: 15 minutes

cook time: 50 minutes

total time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Apples tossed with brown sugar and cinnamon are drizzled with homemade caramel sauce and topped with a crunchy crumb topping for a delectable Caramel Apple Crisp. This caramel twist on the traditional fall favorite will have your family coming back for more! 

Ingredients

For the Apple Filling

  • 10 cups peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith Apples (about 6-7 large apples)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the Caramel

  • 1 batch homemade caramel sauce, room temperature, divided use (recipe below)

For the Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Organic Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x13 inch baking pan.
  2. Prepare the Apple Filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, ¼ cup light brown sugar, 1 TBS flour and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture over the apples and toss to coat.
  3. Drizzle ⅓ cup of the homemade caramel sauce over the apples. 
  4. Prepare the Topping: In a large bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup light brown sugar, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, Bob’s Red Mill Organic Rolled Oats. Stir in melted butter until evenly incorporated. Crumble topping evenly over apples. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes.
  5. Serve warm with a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce and scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Caramel-Apple Crisp

Makes 6 to 8 servings

WHEN YOU BAKE APPLES with caramel sauce, you get a juicy mixture—juicier than a traditional apple pie filling, because there are no thickeners. You also get one that’s less sweet— “burning” the sugar to caramelize it gives it pleasantly bitter undertones. These are the characteristics that make this filling a good match for a topping that’s sweet, earthy and crunchy. It’s a topping that began life as streusel and ended by welcoming whole wheat flour (the earthy element) and oatmeal. You can swap the apples for pears or make this with quinces or, better yet, a combination of quinces, apples and/or pears. While you’re fiddling, think about adding toasted nuts (walnuts or pecans) to the mix.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE TOPPING

  • ½ cup (68 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (34 grams) whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (40 grams) oats (not instant)

FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE

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  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • ¾ (180 ml) heavy cream, warmed or at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • About 2½ pounds (a generous kilo) apples (4 or 5 large), peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Ice cream for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS

A WORD ON THE APPLES: Just about any apple can be used except McIntosh, which would get too soft. I like to use an assortment. For example, think about a mix of Fuji, Gala and Golden Delicious, and maybe throw in a Granny Smith. If you’d like, leave the peel on some of the apples. 

AND A WORD ABOUT WORKING AHEAD: You can make the caramel sauce and topping well in advance. Even better, you can assemble the crisp, slide it into the freezer and wait for it to freeze solid, then cover it tightly and store it there for up to 2 months. Let it sit at room temperature while you preheat the oven. It may need a few more minutes in the oven.

TO MAKE THE TOPPING: Whisk both flours, both sugars, the cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the pieces of butter and press, mash and schmoosh the ingredients together until you’ve got moist clumps that hold together when pressed. Sprinkle over the vanilla, then add the oats and use a flexible spatula—or your hands—to mix them in. (Alternatively, you can do this in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment—after the mixture comes together, break it into clumps with your fingers.) Cover the bowl and refrigerate the topping for at least 1 hour, or freeze it while you make the caramel sauce and prepare the apples. (The topping can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.)

TO MAKE THE CARAMEL SAUCE: Pour the sugar, water and corn syrup into a medium heavybottomed saucepan, put the pan over medium-high heat and cook without stirring. Once the sugar melts and starts coloring, swirl the pan. Then cook until the caramel, which will boil and may even smoke, turns a medium amber color. You can check the color by dropping some on a white plate. As the caramel cooks, it might spatter onto the sides of the pan—wash down the spatters with a silicone pastry brush dipped in cold water.

Turn off the heat, stand back and add the cream, salt and butter. The mixture will sputter dramatically, but it will quickly calm down, and when it does, stir it until it is smooth and creamy. If, as you’re stirring, you feel as though there are lumps (or something not melted at the bottom of the pan), return the pan to medium heat and stir for another minute or two to smooth things out. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the sauce into a heatproof bowl or container and cover when cool. (The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 month. Reheat gently, thinning with a little cream if necessary before using.)

TO PREPARE THE APPLES AND ASSEMBLE THE CRISP: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat—you’ll need the liner to catch drips. Butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. 

Put the apple chunks in a large bowl and pour over ⅔ cup of the caramel sauce. (You’ll have caramel sauce left over; save it for another use.) Turn the apples around until they’re evenly coated with sauce and then scrape them into the pie pan, mounding them in the center.

Cover the apples with the topping, pinching off pieces as you drop them on top of the fruit—the topping may look precarious, but once it’s in the oven, the heat will secure the clumps. (The assembled crisp can be frozen for up to 2 months; see headnote.)

Bake the crisp for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. (Check it after 30 minutes, and if it looks as though it’s browning too quickly, tent it loosely with parchment or foil.) The bubbling’s important—when the juices are bubbling in the center, you know the crisp is done. Transfer to a rack and let the crisp sit until it’s just warm or has come to room temperature before serving.

If you’re serving a scoop of ice cream with each portion of crisp, think about drizzling a little of the leftover caramel sauce over it.

STORING: Like pie, this is best the day it’s made. If you’ve got leftovers, cover, refrigerate and serve them cold the next day.

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