Courtney and I got together this afternoon to make the "Apple-Peanut Butter-Caramel Bars" from VCON.
I'm glad Courtney was over to team with me on this recipe, because it contained quite a few steps and was rather labor-intensive. I basically sliced apples the entire time, while she made the crust and crumble topping. However, with two cooks in the kitchen, (well, one cook in the kitchen and one in the living room -- yes, my kitchen is, indeed, THAT small,) we had the bars in the oven in no time. The peanut butter caramel was a cinch to make, (although we think we may have cooked it just a smidge too long -- it was more gloppy and less drizzly than we would have liked it to be,) and really adds something super-special to these bars.
After cooling, we experienced the same problem almost everyone else who's made these bars so far has experienced -- the crust didn't really hold together at all, and just sort of crumbled apart. I'm not sure I'd make these as a bar again -- they just don't hold up. They definitely require a plate and fork to eat, which in my opinion, is not a "bar."
HOWEVER, the flavor is so spectacular! Courtney and I decided these would make a much better pie in the future, and since I'm not a huge fan of graham cracker crusts, I'd probably make a regular piecrust.
I could eat that peanut butter caramel straight from the pan with a spoon, if it didn't involve potentially burning my tongue, however!!
In the end, I feel these bars deserve a mixed review -- they taste great, but are a little complicated to prepare. The crumble-apart factor also is a little frustrating. Now I know for next time, though!!
And I will be making a version of this recipe again, I guarantee. :)