Warm Vanilla Apple Crisp with Salted Caramel Sauce
A simple homemade warm vanilla apple crisp that’s warm and gooey. It’s got the most amazing oat crumble, topped with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce to make it even more special!
Would you just look at this apple crisp? I have been dying to share my recipe with you. Mainly because i’ve topped it with my homemade salted caramel sauce and a huge scoop on vanilla ice cream for good measure, bumping up the status of apple crisps tenfold by doing that. Salted caramel sauce on everything!
What makes this recipe REALLY GOOD is the balance of the brown sugar oat topping with the warm, soft and gooey vanilla scented apples. I made my apple crisp just the perfect amount of tart and sweet. Using a combination of sweeter apples with a few tart ones, I balanced out the flavor so that the apple crisp could be served with caramel sauce and ice cream. Because, I can’t have an apple crisp without ice cream. In fact, I can’t have apple pie without ice cream either!
So the secret the vanilla apple crisp? Vanilla paste. 2 whole teaspoons help flavor the apples. I was a little worried that 2 teaspoons vanilla might overpower the apple flavor. But I was wrong! It pairs beautifully and makes the whole house smell like the holiday season. I love food that does that so much 🙂
As for the apples, use a combination of your favorite baking apples. I used Tart granny smith apples with a sweeter variety of pink ladies and honey crisp. You’ll need a total of 8-9 medium sized apples that you’ll peel and cut into medium wedges. You can even do a large dice if you’d like. I like to vary the size of the slice just a little to add a little more textural interest. Because I don’t think any of us would like to homogenous baked apples. Isn’t that what apple sauce is for? I sprinkled the apple slices with cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, VANILLA PASTE, and a pinch of salt.
Cue the topping. It’s easy! Rolled oats, a little all purpose flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a ½ cup of salted butter. If you don’t have salted butter, just use a big pinch of salt in with the oat topping. Now just break the butter into pea sized pieces with your finger tips. Working quickly so the the butter doesn’t melt.
Top the apple mixture with your oat topping and bake. The apple crisp will take about 35-45 minutes in the oven. Once it’s brown, bubbly, and filling your entire kitchen with it’s apple crisp magic, it’s done! You can see the oat topping had browned up nicely, and the apple slices are swimming in cinnamon and brown sugar syrup. I love the texture contrast between the apples, the oat topping, the vanilla ice cream, and of course, the drizzle of caramel sauce.
You don’t have to top your apple crisp with vanilla ice cream if you don’t want to. But why wouldn’t you want to? If you’re not a fan of ice cream (gasp!) you can drizzle the salted caramel sauce directly on your apple crisp and top with a dollop of whip cream if you’d like.
I love making a big dish full of apple crisp and sharing it with friends and family. It’s a big hit with everyone. And around the holidays, it’s a lot simpler than baking an entire apple pie! So we do crumbles up in here often.
Now that Halloween (aka favorite night of the year) is over, i’m looking forward to making lots of apple bakes with toasted, bubbly oat streusel topping and serving it with warm salted caramel sauce on the regular.
- 8-9 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into medium wedges*
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste*
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ⅔ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, cubed*
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Salted Caramel Sauce (homemade
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the ingredients for the filling. Make sure the apples are evenly coated before dumping the wedges into the prepared baking dish, set aside.
- In an medium bowl, toss together the ingredients of the topping except the butter. You a whisk to combine, then add the butter. Using your finger tips, break down the butter into small pea sized pieces. Some kidney bean sized pieces are okay. Sprinkle the topping over the apples.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the oat topping browns. If the topping starts browning before the baking time is up, loosely cover with foil. Allow the apple crisp to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.
- For the apples - use a variety of tart and sweet apples. I used 3 Granny Smiths and about 5 Honeycrisp/pink Ladys. But Fuji and Braeburns are other good options to use. Cut the apple in varying wedges to add some textural differences within the crisp.
- I do recommend using the vanilla bean paste in this recipe but vanilla extract can be substituted. Keep in the mind the flavor will vary.
- You can used unsalted butter for this recipe if you'd like. Just add ¼ teaspoon salt to the topping mixture.
I HIGHLY encourage you to make my salted caramel sauce for this recipe. I've tried it with store-bought sauce and homemade and the homemade caramel sauce makes all the difference!