Ummm how many times have I said I have a new favorite dessert this summer? Too many to count. Let me introduce you to the newest in a never-ending line of favorites: Strawberry Caramel Crumble Bars! Classic crumble dessert bars with a layer of fresh, summer strawberries and a hefty drizzle of the quickest homemade caramel – SO good.
This recipe was the result of three things: A very bored girl, a dessert craving, and a fridge with some random ingredients that needed to get used up!
This Beautiful Caramel Situation
This caramel situation was born out of the random fridge ingredients. AKA – I opened a can of sweetened condensed milk thinking “Oh yea, I’m going to drink coffee in the mornings this week, and I’ll put some of this in it, and it’s gonna be great!” Guess how many times I did that. Once. HA! But it all worked out because I learned you can make a super easy stovetop caramel sauce with CONDENSED MILK, butter, and brown sugar.
Is that not the most scrumptious thing you’ve seen all day? This recipe makes enough caramel for two batches of these bars SO you have a few options here:
- Halve the caramel recipe, and use the remaining half of your can of sweetened condensed milk as coffee creamer (so good!)
- Double the bar recipe using a 9×13 pan and use the full amount of caramel
- Make the full caramel recipe, and use the remaining half for general eating, merriment, and dipping of fruit!
- Make the full caramel recipe, the regular amount of these bars AND save the rest of the caramel in your fridge until Friday, when I’m sharing a super special caramel-filled cookie recipe that uses the SAME caramel
Make sure to store any leftover caramel tightly covered, in the fridge! It lasts for about a week.
This Crumble Crust Situation
Crumble bars are some of my VERY favorite desserts to make, for one main reason – the crust and the topping are made in the SAME BOWL. Like, what?! Whoever invented this concept deserves an award. We’ve got the usual suspects here – flour, baking powder, oats, and butter. We’ve also got one special ingredient here – coconut sugar! It’s like the tastier cousin of brown sugar. If you’ve never tried coconut sugar, now’s the time! Even if you don’t like coconut, I’m confident that you’ll like this. It has a delicious, rich flavor without being overly sweet.
So, whisk up those dry ingredients, melt your butter, and give it all a good mix. Boom – crust and caramel are done! All that’s left is to chop some strawberries, and assemble your bars! We’re going to bake 2/3 of the crust mixture in a pan first to get that nice base layer, then we’ll add our strawberries, caramel, and the remaining crumble for the topping. A little more bake time, and you’ve got yourself some addictingly-delicious bars.
How addicting? Enough so that I made these bars THREE times in less than two weeks. They were loved, and gobbled up, by Grant, myself, my family on the 4th of July, and our bible study! Even Grant – who hates strawberries – was going back for seconds and thirds of these bars.
If that’s not a testament to how good these are, then I can’t even help ya ?. Make these for all your summer snacking/craving/potluck/backyard grill-out needs! Make them for your neighbors, too. They’ll love you forever.
Happy Baking, friends! Thanks for being part of this yummy food community ??
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Strawberry Caramel Crumble Bars
FOR THE CARAMEL
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 stick butter
FOR THE CRUMBLE MIXTURE
- 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup coconut sugar SO good but you can sub brown sugar, too
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup melted butter
- 1 3/4 cup strawberries, cut into chunks About 12 medium strawberries
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 pan (or a 9x13 if doubling the recipe) with parchment paper and set aside.
- Make the caramel: Add the butter and brown sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir, until the butter is melted and mixture is puffy and bubbling (3-5 minutes). Whisk in the condensed milk and turn the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the caramel is thick and coats the back of your stirring spoon (5 more min). Turn off heat and set aside.
- Make the crumble mixture: In a medium/large mixing bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until everything is well-combined. (See photos). There will be crumbs and lumps of different sizes - that's what we want!
- Bake: Add two thirds of the crumble mixture to the prepared pan, pressing into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes. (This is a good time to cut your strawberries!)Next, evenly lay the chopped strawberries over the top of the crust, and pour about HALF (3/4 to 1 cup) of the caramel mixture over the top (see note below). Sprinkle with the remaining crumble mixture (if it seems really dry, add 1 extra tbsp of melted butter, and stir to moisten things up before sprinkling over bars). Bake this for 20-25 more minutes. The strawberries should be tender when pierced with a fork and the crumb topping will be browned.
- Serve and Store: Let cool completely before slicing into bars. If you want to enjoy immediately, it won't hold its shape as bars, but you can scoop it into bowls and enjoy as a fruit crisp. Throw some ice cream on top, while you're at it!Cover leftovers and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Make half of the caramel recipe, and use the remaining half a can of condensed milk as coffee creamer (yummy!)
- I DON'T recommend using the full amount of caramel in a double batch of this recipe - it will be too much and your bars can get soggy. Instead, double the recipe and divide it between two pans to use up the full amount of caramel in that manner.
- Make the full amount of caramel and use the remaining half for general eating and dipping fruit into. This also makes a yummy coffee creamer!
- Make the full amount of caramel and save the other half for this caramel cookie recipe!
- Store extra caramel covered, and in the fridge for up to a week.
Order my new book: