I first shared this recipe just over a year ago when I started this blog. It's since become a favorite of ours, especially in the fall. We don't really have any local apple orchards in our area where we can go pick our own apples (that I know of anyways) and I don't always have the time to drive a couple hours away to do so. So for the past 2 years I've made due by going down to our farmer's market on Saturday mornings and getting bags of apples from an orchard that makes quite the drive just to attend our weekly market.
From the end of September to now, with the exception of a couple weekends, I have gone down every Saturday to get anywhere from 10-20 lbs. of apples. We've enjoyed lots of apples as snacks and in other desserts, and I think my freezer is officially full of homemade applesauce and this apple crisp. My mom and I will also be having a pie making session next weekend, we'll be getting started on some of our Thanksgiving pies as well as storing a few in our freezers for later use.
Our family will most certainly not be eating apple crisp and pie every week this winter, but I like to have these desserts within arms reach for when we have company, when I don't have time to make a dessert to bring to a dinner party and especially to give to friends and family. I love to surprise people with home-cooked meals and baked goods!
We did enjoy a dish of this awesome crisp on Saturday evening, warm out of the oven and served with vanilla ice cream on top. The apple crisp was still hot enough to melt the ice cream just a bit and the caramel bits inside were nice and gooey. Just the way I like it. This recipe does make a huge pan, 9x13 to be exact. When I make this for my freezer, I mix up the oat mixture as normal and then start dividing it into smaller pans. Like shown above, one recipe will yield me 4 of those smaller disposable pans, 8x8 inch pans work well for the freezer too. Regardless of what size pans you decide to use, just make this. Seriously, it will be the perfect comfort dessert on a cold night.
Caramel Apple Crisp
3 c old fashioned oats
2 c flour
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c cold butter, cut into cubes
8 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1-11 oz bag of caramel bits (I've found I like these better than cutting caramels in half, you use whatever you prefer though)
1 c apple cider or juice, divided
In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly. If making a full 9x13 pan, press half of mixture into greased pan. Layer with half of apples, caramel bits and 1 c of oat mixture; repeat layers. Pour 1/2 c of cider on top. Bake, uncovered for 30 mins at 350. Drizzle remaining cider on top and bake for another 15 mins.
If you'd like to make this into smaller servings and for the freezer: Divide half of oat mixture amongst your pans, make sure to grease them too. Start adding a layer of apples and caramels, then more oat mixture on top. Add one more layer. If baking immediately, drizzle with the apple cider or juice. If freezing, cover and label your pans. Store in freezer until ready to serve. When ready to bake, let thaw, drizzle with cider or juice and bake. For smaller 8x8 inch pans I usually let them bake for at least 30 mins or until apples are tender.