Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

In the last week we’ve made not one but TWO trips to the apple orchard because they are just SO good right now and there are new varieties every day! Our first trip we picked tons of Jonathan and Grimes and the second time it was all about the Fujis!

So, needless to say we’ve been eating a LOT of apples. And of course I’ve done a little baking…I gave my mom’s German Apple Cake a healthy makeover and it turned out DELISH. But I think our favorite thing so far has been dehydrating apples and making dried apple slices! The kids can’t get enough. And the Jonathan’s are perfect for dehydrating because they’re actually super sweet with a little tartness. Yum!

So with all the dehydrating, I was super excited to stumble upon this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Pie Energy Bites that utilizes dried apples but I knew immediately I wanted to take the recipe a step further and make them into Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars! And with a little adjusting of ingredients, that’s what I did and the results were DELICIOUS.

All the flavors of apple pie, a touch of salt, tiny chunks of almonds and dried apples, minimal ingredients and no added sugar, make these perfect for snacking or even breakfast! We love them!

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ c. Dried Apples, finely chopped in food processor
  • 1 ½ c. Raw, Toasted Almonds (you don't have to toast the almonds but I prefer the flavor it gives them)
  • 1 ½ c. Medjool Dates, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes
  • 5 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ t. Cinnamon
  • 1½ t. Apple Pie Spice
  • ½-¾ t. Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil or parchment paper
  2. Blend almonds and dates in a high powered blender or food processor until a thick paste forms. You can get it as smooth as you like..I left a few bits and pieces of almonds in mine because I like the texture.
  3. Transfer the almond/date mixture, along with all other ingredients to an electric mixer. Beat on low speed until everything is well combined and blended. Adjust spices, etc to taste.
  4. Press into your lined pan and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow mixture to set. Remove from pan and cut.
Notes
Makes 12 bars.

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Hoosier Mama Pie Company

Ok, I’ve already covered stop #1 at The Chocolatier, Inc. on our Illinois getaway trip.  Now we come to our next sweet destination…Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago.  I was SO excited about this bakery because it was the first pie place I have ever had the opportunity to go to–yay!  Usually it’s chocolate or cupcakes, but not this time!

Since my recent obsession with pies developed, I knew that when planning this trip, I HAD to find a pie place in Chicago for us to go to.  And believe it or not there were several that seemed good but this one really stood out and had awesome reviews.

First, I have to say that this place literally is a hole in the wall.  We drove by it the first time and I swore up and down that I didn’t see it…I mean, I was looking.  So, we did another circle, this time going as slow as possible with traffic all around and sure enough, there it was!  Luckily, there was a spot open almost right in front of it.

So we got in and immediately found ourselves in the teeny, tiniest space…like hard to move and not bump into people.  There were a total of three tables and one just happened to be opening up so we grabbed it.  And it was chaos from that moment on.  People did not stop coming in the door and it was a little overwhelming trying to choose the pies I wanted with a line forming.  But I managed to narrow it down to five (at $4 a slice it was not cheap!).  Here’s a little pic of the ones we got.  And yes, people DID look at our table like we were crazy.

Least favorite, I won’t lie, was the Chocolate Chess Pie.  I had been dying to try a chess pie because it was such an old-fashioned thing and I’d never had one.  But it was just..odd.  Kind of cake/brownie-like and you could definitely tell there was vinegar in it so I wasn’t really a fan.  Kind of non-descript to me.

Next least favorite was the Coconut Cream Pie.  I just tasted like vanilla bean to me (and I’m not a huge fan of vanilla bean–tragic, I know) with coconut mixed in.  So nothing special in my book.

However, things got a LOT better with the fruit pies.  The Apple Pie was scrumptious.  It was like apple cider in pie form.  We liked it alot.

Next the Peach & Cherry Pie was also delicious.  It had a pecan streusel topping that was sooooo good.  I loved it.

Finally, the Chocolate Cream Pie.  It was divine.  You could tell it was made with high-quality chocolate and was silky smooth.  Jeremy and I both thought it was the best of all of them.

We loved this little pie place and highly recommend it if you are ever in the Chicago area!

 

 

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Leftover Thanksgiving Pie

If you were one of the crazies up at 3 a.m. (or you didn’t even got to bed!  CRAZY!) to get in line for Black Friday, and had all your shopping done by 7, you’re probably getting a little hungry and thinking about breakfast.  Lucky for you I managed to find a few recipes that put all those leftover pumpkin, pecan and apple pies to good use in some of our most beloved breakfast foods.  Pumpkin pie french toast?!  Umm, sign me up!  I know for some, however, it might be a bit early for Thanksgiving food round two, so I also have some yummy dessert recipes that incorporate leftover pie.

Hope you are having a great holiday weekend!

Pie Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pie Crepes

Pumpkin Pie Stuffed French Toast

Pumpkin Pie Brulee

Pumpkin Pie Shake

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple Cider Doughnuts

A few weeks ago on a nice, bright Saturday morning I took a little road trip with my friend Sharla to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets.  We had a great time and scored some awesome bargains.  However, my favorite find of the whole trip was this doughnut pan from Norpro.  I have been wanting one for some time and was really excited to finally find one that was a great brand at a decent price.

The store where I bought the pan also had this apple cider doughnut mix conveniently placed next to it.  I’ve been seriously longing for an apple cider doughnut from Edwards Apple Orchard from when we lived up in Rockford.  This place is amazing…the coolest general store with all kinds of yummy stuff, finger lickin’ bbq, some of the best apple pie I’ve EVER had (and yes, we DID try a slice with cheddar cheese and it was good!!)  and their beyond drool-worthy apple cider doughnuts!  Jeremy and I have seriously discussed taking a weekend trip to Rockford just for the doughnuts at the orchard (of course I’d probably have to sneak in some Chicago shopping hehe).  They also have a petting zoo, live music and apple picking galore!  Oh how I miss it!  Apparently, they don’t have a website but here are some pics I found.

Ok so back to my doughnut mix!  I made them this past weekend with the new pan and I have to say that I loved both!  The pan worked wonderfully however, the side of the doughnuts that were in the pan got a bit darker and a tad more done than the other side.  Not an issue really, just looks kind of funny.  And the mix was great!  Not quite the caliber of the orchard doughnuts but really, really good.  We liked them hot out of the pan, brushed with butter and dipped in cinnamon and sugar but they were even better after they had cooled off and set for a while.  You could really taste the apple cider and the texture was very moist and cake-like.  Loved them!  Of course I’ll be trying from scratch doughnuts next but if I ever need any in a pinch, I’ll definitely go with this brand!

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Apple Recipe Roundup

It’s Monday!  Who’s excited?!  Yeah, me neither.  Thought I’d cheer you up with some delicious APPLE recipes from all over the blogosphere.  It’s that time of year….apple cake, apple cider, apple donuts, apple pie….the possibilities are endless!  And so, so delicious.

Enjoy!

Apple Rings by How To: Simplify

 

Hot Spiced Cider by Better Homes and Gardens

Apple Pie Cupcakes by Annie’s Eats

Smooth and Sweet Caramel Apple Dip by Zesty Cook

Caramel Apple Granola Cookies by Healthy Food for Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple Festivals & Weddings

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity.  I got to have a little girl’s night Friday night with two of my bestest friends.  We treated ourselves to pedicures and a little shopping.  Then Saturday Jeremy and I got up early, worked out, made a yummy homemade breakfast of biscuits, gravy, eggs and sausage and then headed to Seymour for the Apple Festival.

There were a TON of crafts.  Jewelry, fall wreaths, homemade cosmetics and lotions, wood working and so much more.

And of course, there were apples.  We treated ourselves to a slice of yummy apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

From there we headed to a wedding.  My baby cousin, James, got married…I still can’t believe he’s old enough to get married!  Makes me feel ancient.  Sigh.

The wedding was very cute and laid-back.  We all sat on quilt-covered hay-bales and the bride and groom stood under a big, beautiful tree for the ceremony.  Afterwards, we had the most delicious bbq and other homemade food and ended the night with yummy white wedding cake, punch and dancing.

I just love this shot.

Congratulations James and Jess!

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