Dulce de Leche Apple Bars with Browned Butter Icing

Whenever I come across a recipe that includes the words "dulce de leche," I'm immediately intrigued. I'm a caramel lover, you see, and dulce de leche puts caramel to shame. It's infinitely more decadent and creamy, and it does magical things to baked goods too.

The latest dulce recipe that captured my full- attention: Dulce de Leche Apple Bars with Browned Butter Icing.

I've never made my own dulce de leche, though I've heard it's quite easy to do. My fear is that I might eat it by the spoonful. For now, I'm happy to find it canned -in my grocery store's Latin food aisle.

The dulce de leche is swirled into an appley batter. More appley batter is then spooned on top.

For the icing, butter is quickly browned in a saucepan and then mixed with powdered sugar, vanilla and cream. If you pour it on quickly, you can simply tip the pan to and fro until the bars are covered evenly. I added a teeny bit too much cream, and therefore my icing was slightly dribbly (but that just added to the drool factor needed for picture-taking purposes). If you're careful when mixing your icing, yours will set up more firmly than mine

See that dulce de leche hidden inside? That there is pure heaven.

These cut up most easily when chilled until firm. A long, thin knife wiped off after each cut ensures clean edges.

The dulce had me so captivated that I nearly forgot to mention the fresh apple chunks. They were present throughout the bars too, but the dulce was the star of the bar.

I didn't want these dangerous treats lying around our house, so I brought them to the teachers today. Those teachers at my son's school get weekly treats from me, and so far... this is the treat that was most raved about. They left me a friendly note of thanks on the empty tray and pretty much demanded the recipe. "It's all yours," I told them, "but make at your own risk. That dulce de leche is addicting stuff."

This recipe can be found HERE.