These caramel apple blondies are topped with an easy caramel frosting and toasted pecans for a delicious autumnal treat. Recipe includes a gluten-free option.
It’s caramel apple season!
So of course I also love these caramel apple blondies.
This recipe comes from my friend Erin over at Texanerin Baking and is so good. You’re gonna love it, too!
WHY I LOVE THESE CARAMEL APPLE BLONDIES
I love blondies and brownies, so whipping up a chewy caramel apple blondie recipe just seemed like the right thing to do.
I’ve seen some other caramel apple blondie recipes and they use a lot less cinnamon than This one. This recipe uses over a tablespoon of cinnamon, but don’t worry – it’s not overpowering! It’s just right to complement the apples and brown sugar.
And don’t skip the caramel frosting. It’s easy to put together and is the perfect finish for these bars.
Oh, and did I mention that you don’t need a mixer to make these?
These blondies are chewy and a little bit fudgy, sweet and cinnamony. They’re one of my favorite fall treats!
HOW TO MAKE CARAMEL APPLE BLONDIES
One of the best things about this recipe is that you can make it with all-purpose flour or a gluten-free flour blend for your gluten-free friends and family. And I promise that both versions are equally delicious!
For the conventional version, you’ll use 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour. For the gluten-free version, you’ll need:
- 1 ½ cups white rice flour
- ⅓ cup potato starch
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons tapioca flour / starch
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
I know that comes out to more than 1 ½ cups, but that’s ok. Because of the nature of these flours and starches, you need all of the gluten-free mix. The blondies will still bake up great!
Making this recipe
To make the apple blondies, start by stirring together the flour – either the all-purpose flour or the gluten-free mix) with 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon and the nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined.
Fold in the dry ingredients, stirring just until no streaks of flour remain.
Toss the chopped apple with the rest of the cinnamon and fold the cinnamon-coated apples into the batter. Make sure not to overmix!
Spread the batter evenly into a lined 8×8-inch pan and bake for about 40 minutes. The center should be set and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean with just some moist crumbs clinging to it.
While the blondies cool, place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake them for 4-7 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they are fragrant and toasted.
Let the pecans cool while you work on the frosting.
Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the brown sugar, butter, milk, and salt. Whisk constantly; bring the mixture to a hard boil and boil for 1 minute – don’t stop whisking!
After the minute of boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. The mixture will bubble – that’s ok.
Gradually whisk in ⅔ cup of the powdered sugar. Taste and add up to another ⅓ cup of powdered sugar if you like.
Pour the frosting over the blondies – it’s ok if they are still warm. Spread the frosting over the top, sprinkle on the toasted pecans, and let the blondies finish cooling before serving.
- Before you get started, make sure you know how to measure flour correctly. This can be applied to the all-purpose flour, gluten-free flours and starches, and powdered sugar.
- If you’re out of brown sugar, save yourself a trip to the grocery store by learning how to make a brown sugar substitute.
- Did your brown sugar harden in the pantry? I have a bunch of tips for how to soften brown sugar.
- I recommend having your eggs at room temperature before adding them to the batter. Learn how to bring eggs to room temperature.
- If you’re out of powdered sugar, you can make a simple substitute to use instead. Learn how to make powdered sugar.
How should I store these caramel apple blondies?
The all-purpose version can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days.
If you make the gluten-free version, I recommend storing them in the refrigerator, as they are a bit more delicate than the all-purpose version. Chilling before cutting and serving will help them hold together better.
You may find you want to keep the all-purpose version refrigerated as well, as it makes them a bit firmer and fudgier. It just depends on the texture you like in your blondies!
What apples are best for this recipe?
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!
Can I use a 1:1 gluten-free mix instead of the flours you listed?
If you don’t have the gluten-free flours listed in the recipe, you could try using your favorite 1-to-1 gluten-free baking mix. I’ve had good luck with the one from Bob’s Red Mill.
Caramel Apple Blondies
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mix see below
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon divided
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ cups peeled Granny Smith apple chunks about 1/4″ in size
For the gluten-free flour mix, use:
For the topping:
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar lightly packed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ to 1 cup powdered sugar sifted if lumpy
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8-inch pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour (all-purpose or the gluten-free mix), 1 tablespoon cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Beat in the eggs, one by one, and stir just until combined.
- Fold in the dry mixture, stirring just until no streaks of flour remain.
- 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.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Set on a rack to cool.
- 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 set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together the brown sugar, butter, milk and salt.
- 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 vanilla (it will bubble).
- 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.
- Pour the frosting over the warm blondies and spread evenly over the top. Top with the chopped pecans. Let the blondies finish cooling.