Salted Caramel Stout Apple Bars

Salted Caramel Stout Apple Bars

I’ve been chasing the light around my new house for the past three months. I haven’t found it, not in any real way. It’s an occupational hazard, really.

Every time I move, I have to find it. I have to find that place in my house where I can set up shop and shoot what I need to photograph. I’m not an artificial light girl, possibly because I can’t really wrap my brain around the nuances of that medium. So I chase the sunlight, hoping each new spot, new time of day, new month of the year, will be when I find it.

I’ve lived in 5 houses since I started this journey with the very strange objective of getting paid for cooking with beer and taking pictures of it. I’ve always found the spot—where the light is just right—in every house that has served as my work-from-home office. The kitchen, the garage, behind the couch in my living room, the bedroom. You never really know where it’ll be.

Every house I move into, I have an idea of where I WANT to shoot, where I want to set up and settle in and start photographing. But the light, just like the rest of this world, doesn’t really bend to your whims the way you want it to.

Today, on round three of testing this recipe, I settled into a new location. Maybe because I shot this photograph there and decided I loved it. Maybe because it was easier to sit down in this spot and polish off a few of these before I cleaned up. Either way, I might just stay a while and see if the light will cooperate if I keep baking things covered in salted caramel frosting.

Salted Caramel Stout Apple Bars

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • ½ cup (114g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (220g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup stout beer
  • 1 ½ (180g) cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 medium tart apple (i.e. Granny Smith), peeled and small diced (about 1 cup)
  • For the frosting:
  • ¼ cup (57g) softened butter
  • 1 cup (220g) packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (60mL) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (180g) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus ¼ teaspoon, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until light and fluffy. Add the egg, oil and vanilla extract, beating until it resembles frosting.
  3. Stir in the beer (it will curdle).
  4. Sprinkle with flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and apples. Stir until just combined. Pour into an 8x8 baking dish that has been greased and floured.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top has puffed and springs back when lightly touched.
  6. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a mixing bowl, and use an electric hand mixer).
  7. Melt the butter in a pot over high heat. Add the brown sugar, cream and vanilla, stir until just combined. Boil over high heat for two minutes.
  8. Pour the caramel over the powdered sugar, beat until well combined. Pour the frosting over the apple bars in an even layer, sprinkle with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, allow to cool. Cut into squares.
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