Caramel apple blondies with an easy caramel frosting and topped with pecans for a delicious autumnal treat. With a gluten-free option.

Caramel apple blondies with an easy caramel frosting and topped with pecans for a delicious fall treat. With a gluten-free option.

Caramel apple treats are my favorite thing about fall. As soon as September strikes, all I want to do is bake apple-based everything, like this caramel apple cheesecake crisp or caramel apple cake.

One thing I hadn’t baked in a while was blondies so tossing in some apples and a whole bunch of cinnamon seemed like the right thing to do. I’m normally all about super gooey and fudgy blondies and brownies, but these caramel apple blondies are a cross between the two. I knew I wanted to top them off with caramel frosting and figured that super fudgy brownies plus frosting might be a little too much.

These caramel apple blondies are great on their own, but I don’t recommend skipping the caramel frosting! It’s so easy to put together and doesn’t require actually making caramel – something I’m terrified of! You just mix all the frosting ingredients together, boil for 1 minute and then add powdered sugar.

Caramel apple blondies are topped with an easy caramel frosting and pecans to create the perfect fall treat. With a gluten-free option.

I’ve looked at some other caramel apple blondie recipes and they use a lot less cinnamon. This recipe uses over a tablespoon of cinnamon and none of my taste testers thought it was overpowering! Definitely feel free to reduce it if you don’t love cinnamon.

I’ve tried a few different types of apples in these blondies and Granny Smith were the best. When I used sweeter apple types, they just blended in and hardly stood out. The tart flavor or Granny Smith makes the apple taste pop a bit more!

Caramel apple blondies are topped with an easy caramel frosting and pecans to create the perfect fall treat. Recipe contains a gluten-free option.

If making the gluten-free version, you’ll probably want to chill the caramel apple blondies before cutting them as they’re a bit more delicate than the all-purpose flour version. And if you make the all-purpose version, you may want to refrigerate them, anyway, as chilling makes them a bit firmer, fudgier and easier to eat.

If you don’t have the gluten-free flours listed, you could try using your favorite 1-to-1 gluten-free baking mix. I’ve had good luck with this one.

For another apple treat that can also be made with gluten-free or all-purpose flour, try this apple tart!

Apple Blondies

Ingredients:

For the blondies:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mix*
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled Granny Smith apple chunks (about 1/4″ in size)

* If you need these blondies to be gluten-free, make sure all your ingredients are certified gluten-free.

For the gluten-free flour mix, use:

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons tapioca flour / starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

For the topping:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons + 3/4 teaspoons milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3-1 cup powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8″x8″ pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one by one, and stir just until combined.
  5. Fold in the dry mixture, stirring just until no streaks of flour remain.
  6. Mix the peeled apple chunks with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and fold the cinnamon apples into the batter, making sure not to overmix.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-32 minutes or until the edges have lightly browned and the middle jiggles just slightly.
  8. Place the pecans on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake them for 4-7 minutes, stirring them halfway through, or until they smell roasted. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  9. When the blondies have cooled, prepare the frosting.
  10. In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together the brown sugar, butter, milk and salt.
  11. Whisking continuously, bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, while continuing to whisk continuously. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla (it will bubble).
  12. Gradually whisk in 2/3 cup powdered sugar and mix until smooth and no lumps of sugar remain. Taste and add up to another 1/3 cup powdered sugar, if desired.
  13. Stir occasionally for about 3 minutes or until the frosting has slightly thickened. Immediately pour over the cooled blondies. If it’s thickened too much, place back on the heat for a few moments.
  14. Spread the frosting over the cooled blondies and top with the chopped pecans.
  15. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Can be stored at room temperature for 1 day.
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Caramel apple blondies topped with an easy caramel frosting are the perfect fall treat. Recipe contains a gluten-free option.

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