{cooking w/ kids} Caramel Frosted Apple Spice Bars

Editor’s Note: I’m really excited to announce that Becky will be changing her focus here on FSC. No longer gluten-free, Becky will now focus on her true calling in the kitchen, cooking with her children. Each month Becky will share a family-friendly recipe with tips for including children in the cooking or baking process (see Becky’s piece from February, {cooking with kids} Tips to Keep You Sane for some additional tips & tricks!) -Christina

September 22nd marked the first official day of Autumn, although it has felt (and looked) like Fall around here for days.  The leaves are changing colors, the air feels crisp and cool in the mornings, and kids have gone back to school. I have pulled our my fur lined slippers, hunted through my closet for my beloved cozy sweatshirts, layered blankets on my couches and gone apple picking.

It is definitely Fall in my little circle of the world.

Today seemed like a good day to bake, so I hauled some of our freshly picked apples onto the kitchen counter. I had been bouncing around an idea in my head for a blonde brownie (blondie) that had apples in it, and wanted to see if my kids were up for experimenting with me.   My kids, ages 7 and 4, continue to enjoy all the various steps of cooking, and especially enjoy the sweet reward that awaits them when the timer buzzes!

The end result?  A delicious, sweet accompaniment to a beautiful Fall day.

Although this recipe morphed from a blondie bar recipe that I had, the end result is not fully blondie-esque in the true sense. The addition of the fresh apples added some liquid, taking it a step away from the typical thick “brownie bar” and brought it a step in the “cake” direction.  Since the end result wasn’t as dense as brownies, and not as fluffy as cake,  I am calling these Apple Cinnamon Bars.  Add on some frosting if you like (do it, do it!!!!) and you’ll have “Caramel Frosted Apple Cinnamon Bars”.

Things your kids can do to help:

  • measure ingredients
  • crack eggs
  • chop up the apples (with assistance for younger kids)
  • mix, mix, mix
  • spread on the frosting
  • cut the bars into squares


For the bars:

2/3 cup butter (I used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread Sticks)

2 1/4 cups light brown sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 cups finely chopped apples

For the frosting:

1 tablespoon butter (or vegan butter spread)

1 tablespoon milk (or milk substitute)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (sift first if there are clumps)*


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9″x13″ baking pan.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add in the eggs and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Fold in the apples.
  4. Spread mixture out in prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 mins, until light brown and cooked through the center.

       For Frosting

  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add in milk and brown sugar and mix well with a wisk.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and mix continuously over a steady boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix well.
  5. Spread the frosting over the slightly cooled bars. The frosting thickens as it cools. 

These bars are amazing when they are warm, but also great once they have cooled.   My kids and I couldn’t even wait for them to cool, as the smell overwhelmed us and the vision of this (pictured above) was beyond our self control.  So, we cut right in and snacked immediately. {And then later on. And then more the next day….}



9 Comments Add yours

  1. That looks delicious! Cinnamon and apples has to be one of the best ingredient partnerships ever 🙂

  2. These are perfect for fall!:)

  3. Chet says:

    The only thing better would have been my being there to enjoy it with you.

  4. Ruby says:

    Yum!! This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing it!

  5. Disha says:

    I have been eyeing this recipe for a week now and finally made it today. I only used 11/3 cup sugar and also added a tablespoon of ginger because I just love powdered ginger. I baked it in a bundt pan and it turned out really soft and moist, something that I’ve never been able to do until today. I know that mine didn’t turn into the apple bars that it was supposed to be but it tastes wonderful! My mother loves it 🙂

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