Apple Pie Bars

For the Crust
1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Apple Filling
3 pounds apples (any combination granny smith, gala, golden delicious, etc), peeled, cut in half, cored and sliced into 1/8-inch thick
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup bourbon
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream, warm
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Salted Caramel Sauce
Stir together the sugar and water in a (3 to 4 quarts) small pot or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat
Cook without stirring until the sugar mixture melts completely and turns a deep amber color, about 8 to 10 minutes. You can swirl the pot very gently to prevent the sugar from clumping. See chef’s tips below…
Immediately after the sugar is a deep amber color, whisk in the warm heavy cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble up intensely and rapidly. When it subsides, simmer for about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and salt until well combined. Let it cool for a few minutes before transferring to a bowl or jar.

To Make the Crust
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars and vanilla extract over medium speed, for about 3 minutes or until light and creamy.
Sift the flour and salt together. With the mixer on low speed add the flour to the butter/sugar mixture slowly. Beat until combine.
Take two-thirds of the dough and press it into the prepared baking pan in an even layer. It should be about 1/2-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Remove from the refrigerator and bake for about 18 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, add the chopped pecans and cinnamon to the remaining dough. Put the bowl back on the mixer and mix on low to combine. You can also remove the bowl from the mixer and mix it by hand.
For the Apple Filling
In a large bowl, combine the apples and lemon juice to prevent browning.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and toss to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring often. Add the bourbon and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until some or most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
To Finish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper allowing excess to extend over the sides of the pan.
Use your fingers to pinch pieces of the remaining dough and apply to the top the apples as if trying to make a crumble.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
When cool, lift the baked bar using the excess parchment paper as handles. Drizzle with the Salted Caramel Sauce. Cut into bars and serve.