These rich apple blondies are made extra special with a silky caramel frosting! It’s then drizzled with an incredibly easy 3 ingredient dairy free caramel that tastes just like the real deal. And not only are these bars insanely delicious, but they’re also gluten free, dairy free, and nut free with a simple vegan option.
How to make 3 ingredient vegan caramel
Lots of flavor is packed into the caramel frosting and it pairs so well with the rich apple blondies! But to make this recipe completely dairy free, the caramel recipe is quite unique.
Not only is it the easiest caramel you will ever make, but it’s also made up of just 3 ingredients:
- Pure Maple Syrup – This 100% pure maple syrup sweetens the caramel and provides a sticky and thick caramel consistency. Just make sure to use pure maple syrup and not pancake syrup.
- Coconut Cream – Rather than heavy cream, thick coconut cream is used to enrich this caramel. And if coconut isn’t a flavor you particularly like, it goes completely unnoticed in this caramel. Its only there for textural purposes – not flavor.
- Natural SunButter – The toasted quality of natural SunButter really rounds out this caramel. Made with roasted sunflower seeds, the rich and creamy SunButter adds a natural caramel-like toasted quality when paired with the maple syrup. The flavor of this caramel is actually mind blowing because it tastes (and looks) just like regular dairy caramel!
All three ingredients are mixed together and heated in a saucepan. After about 10 minutes on the stovetop, you’re left with thick and sweet dairy free caramel sauce.
Tips for making apple blondies
These apple blondies are very easy to make, but here are a few tips to ensure they turn out just right:
- Warmed Apples – Heating the apples in a saucepan before mixing into the batter really helps the overall consistency. Cook the apples until they JUST start to turn slightly tender. Once they’re baked into the blondies, they turn nice and soft.
- Natural SunButter – This is the key ingredient to making these blondies rich and dense! Natural SunButter is so smooth and drippy, so it’s the perfect consistency to mix into the batter. In other words, make sure to stick with Natural SunButter for the best flavor and consistency.
- Oat Flour – Instead of flour, oat flour is used to make these blondies gluten free. This can be packaged flour or you can make your own by blending oats into a food processor.
- Baking Pan – This recipe calls for a square 8×8 baking pan. To prep, lightly spray the entire inside with nonstick spray. Then lay in a sheet of parchment paper that’s the same width (8″) as the pan. Press the paper into the bottom and two of the sides, allowing the paper to reach up over the edges for easy removal once the blondies have baked and cooled.
- Baking – The blondies are done when the center feels firm and bouncy. The surface may appear shiny and underdone, so make sure to give the center a good tap before removing from the oven.
Outside of these tips, these blondies shouldn’t cause you any trouble. Especially since this recipe is completely gluten free. That means it’s nearly impossible to over mix and over work the batter, which is a common issue with gluten-filled desserts. No matter how you mix, these apple blondies will turn out dense and tender every time!
How to make caramel apple frosting
The frosting can be optional as you have the choice to simply top the blondies with the homemade caramel by itself, but the frosting really does take these blondies to the next level.
To transform the caramel to caramel frosting, only two ingredients are needed:
- Vegan Butter – This is vegan butter in baking stick form. Don’t go for margarine as it’s too soft for frosting! Vegan baking butter is meant to act just like real butter, so it’s perfect for creating thick frosting.
- Powdered Sugar – To sweeten and thicken the frosting even further, powdered sugar is mixed in with the butter.
At room temperature, vegan butter is VERY soft…softer than traditional room temp butter. Because of this, the butter and sugar are really easy to mix by hand. It makes this frosting recipe quick and easy.
Once the butter and sugar are combined, vanilla and salt are added for extra flavor. Then, half of the SunButter caramel is mixed in. It helps create an incredibly smooth frosting that tastes INSANELY good.
After the bars have cooled, all of the frosting is spread on top. The remaining caramel can then be swirled into the frosting or drizzled on top. To drizzle, I recommend heating the caramel for about 10 seconds in the microwave to loosen it up.
Apple Blondies FAQ’s
I prefer honey crisp, but any firm apple will do! This includes green apples, fuji, gala, or pink lady.
SunButter has a really rich quality with a slightly toasted and sweet flavor. It’s the perfect pairing to the sweet cinnamon apples and smooth caramel.
Oat flour and almond flour are great substitutes for each other. If you don’t need this recipe to be nut free, I suggest this swap.
Yes, the only ingredient NOT vegan is the eggs which can be swapped for flax eggs. Combine 2 tbsp ground flaxseed with 4 tbsp water. Let it rest for about 5 minutes to thicken and gel before use.
Keep the blondies in an air tight container in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for up to 5 days and taste delicious when chilled.
For more gluten free recipes for the fall season, check out my:
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars
- Vegan Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Bars
- Apple Cider Donuts
- Cinnamon Sugar Apple Butter Pie
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make these apple blondies. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!