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Cardamom Caramel Apple Crumble Bars

  • Author: Molly
  • Total Time: 1 hour (plus chilling time)
  • Yield: 8 larger bars or 12 smaller ones 1x


These Cardamom Caramel Apple Crumble Bars are a taste of heaven! Think your favorite apple pie in buttery, streusely bar form with an extra cozy kick of cardamom! The cardamom-spiced caramel drizzled over top really takes them to the next level. These are the perfect fall dessert!



For the Dough:

  • Nonstick spray
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Apple Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples (roughly 2 large or 3 medium apples)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Cardamom Caramel:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel (or other flaky sea salt)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the Dough:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Spray the paper and pan liberally with nonstick spray.
  2. Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugars and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until a soft and smooth dough forms.
  5. Scoop out roughly 1½ cups of the dough and set aside in a small bowl (this will be the crumble topping). Place the bowl with the crumble in the fridge.
  6. Press the remaining dough into the prepared pan, spreading it out as evenly as possible.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until set and lightly golden around the edges. Cool the crust for a few minutes before topping with the apple filling.

For the Apple Filling:

In a large bowl, toss the apples with the flour, sugar, spices, and lemon juice until everything is well combined and the apples are evenly coated.

To Assemble:

  1. Layer the apples on top of the warm crust in the pan, spreading them out as evenly as possible.
  2. Take the bowl of reserved dough out of the fridge.
  3. Crumble the dough evenly over top of the apple filling, breaking it up with your fingers as you sprinkle it over.
  4. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown and the filling is bubbly around the edges.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool COMPLETELY (this is very important). Once the bars have cooled to room temperature, transfer the pan to the fridge for at least 1 hour before attempting to slice them into bars.

For the Cardamom Caramel:

  1. While the bars are baking and/or cooling, make the caramel sauce.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat and add the sugar. Whisk until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Slowly add in the heavy cream, cardamom, and sea salt and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a gentle boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens.
  4. Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Use immediately drizzled over the apple bars or transfer to an airtight container for later use.
  5. The caramel will thicken as it cools. Reheat in a microwave on low in 10-second increments until pourable and warm.
  6. This recipe will make roughly 1½ cups of caramel, far more than needed for this recipe. It’s delicious over ice cream and will keep in the fridge for weeks.


  • I recommend a good baking apple for this recipe. My favorites are honeycrisp, Granny Smith, or pink lady apples. They are firm and crisp in texture with a tart-sweet flavor.
  • These bars can be enjoyed chilled, at room temperature, or warmed up. If you’re feeling extra decadent, serving them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top (along with the caramel) is heavenly!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes (plus chilling time)
  • Category: desserts

Keywords: apple crumble bars, cardamom caramel apple bars, cardamom caramel, caramel apple crumble bars, caramel apple pie bars, cardamom apple pie bars