These apple brownies are super thick, flavorful and have an easy caramel frosting that puts them over the top! Can be made with gluten-free, whole wheat or all-purpose flours.
I feel kind of guilty about all the super sugary and less-healthy-than-usual treats around here lately. Hopefully y’all don’t mind too much. :) If you want something a little healthier, try my gluten-free apple crisp or gluten-free Swedish apple pie (which are also 100% whole grain!).
I’m taking a break from the pumpkin today to bring you these caramel apple brownies (or really… they’re apple blondies but nobody searches for apple blondies so I’m calling them apple brownies :))
If you’re having a bad day, just make these brownies. They’ll make you feel better. I know you’re not supposed to stress eat but…
These apple brownies are thick. Much thicker than most other blondie recipes I’ve tried. And they’re way more cinnamon-y than the other apple brownies I’ve had. I think this has double or even quadruple what some other recipes call for.
They’re not exactly fudgy but not cakey, either. They’re a nice compromise and make the perfect base for the caramel frosting. I’ve used this same frosting in a few recipes, like this apple cake, and love how easy it is.
You just mix all the frosting ingredients together, boil for 1 minute and then add powdered sugar. So simple! You get all the delicious caramel taste without any of the scary (at least to me!) caramel making.
I’ve tried a few different types of apples in these brownies and Granny Smith were the best. When I used sweeter apple types, they just blended in and hardly stood out. All you could taste was cinnamon. The Granny Smith’s tart flavor makes the apple taste pop a bit more, just like in these paleo apple muffins.
If making the gluten-free version, you’ll probably want to chill the brownies before cutting them as they’re a bit more delicate than the all-purpose flour and whole wheat versions.
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. So. Just refrigerate them. :)
Apple Blondies with Caramel Frosting (gluten-free, whole grain, all-purpose options)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 12-16 blondies
- 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour, whole spelt flour, or all-purpose flour or the below gluten-free flour mix for a gluten-free version1
- 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 (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (50 grams each, out of shell), room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) peeled Granny Smith apple chunks (about 1/4" in size)
- 1 cup (110 grams) chopped pecans
- 6 tablespoons (75 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons + 3/4 teaspoons milk
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 - 1 cup (80-120 grams) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
For the blondies:
For the topping:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C) and line an 8"x8" pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, 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 25-32 minutes or until the edges have lightly browned and the middle jiggles just slightly.
- 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.
- When the blondies have cooled, prepare the frosting.
- 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 salt and 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.
- 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.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled blondies and top with the chopped pecans.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Can be stored at room temperature for 1 day.
- For the gluten-free version, 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
Source: My post on My Baking Addiction – Caramel Apple Blondies