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Caramel Apple Bars

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3/4 Shortening
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups quick oats, uncooked
3 to 4 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups)
2 All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 bag (14 ounces) caramel candy, unwrapped

Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan with shortening.

For crust, combine shortening and brown sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer. Add egg to creamed mixture. Beat until well blended.

Combine 1-1/2 cups flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture gradually. Add in oats. Mix until blended. Reserve 1-1/4 cups of mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes.

For filling, toss apples with 2 tablespoons flour and lemon juice. Distribute apple mixture evenly over partially baked crust. Press in lightly.

Place caramels in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) for 1 minute. Stir. Repeat until caramels are melted. Drizzle melted caramel evenly over apples. Crumble reserved topping evenly over caramel.

Bake at 350ºF for 30 to 40 minutes, or until apples are tender and top is golden brown. Do not overbake. Loosen caramel from sides of pan with knife. Cool completely. Cut into 1-1/2 inch bars. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to store.

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