I love putting together a great dessert bar, as evidenced here, and basically every other party I’ve thrown … well, ever. I love the ease of a dessert station – especially when you can add a mix of homemade goodies plus store-or bakery-bought sweet treats that don’t require any baking or extra work, other than a little prep. Sometimes, after creating a big meal or party, the last thing you want to do is focus on baking dessert after dessert.
And caramel apples, well, they’re delicious, nostalgic, and so much fun. I mean, who doesn’t anxiously await the fair to have one huge caramel apple? I also love that caramel apples just scream fall, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, a simple dessert bar, like a DIY caramel apple bar, seems just right.
Dipping slices into your favorite sauces and toppings sounds kind of ideal, right? So the DIY caramel apple station it is.
A DIY caramel apple bar is creative, inventive, and totally lets your guests play with their food, in the best kind of way. Basically, this is the kind of dessert station everyone will love and is perfect for the grownups, and especially the kids. We loved it so much (because of course we went to town on the leftovers after we shot these photos), I’m planning to serve up some variation of this the next time we have friends over. It’s perfect for inviting friends and their kids over, but I’m also thinking this would be a big hit at book club.
With everyone’s favorite topping and dipping options — like toffee bits, crushed peanuts, shredded coconut, and chocolate chips — a caramel apple bar has a little bit of everything. It’s the easiest way to get really creative with your dessert, and the legwork to set up a DIY caramel apple bar is pretty minimal. Win, win.
How to Make a DIY Caramel Apple Bar
- melted chocolate (white, milk, and/or dark)
- melted caramel, jarred caramel sauce, or cold caramel fruit dip (in the produce section at the supermarket)
- marshmallow sauce or fluff
- crushed peanuts
- chopped almonds or almond slivers
- toffee bits
- mini chocolate chips
- peanut butter chips
- mini M&M's
- mini marshmallows
- shredded sweetened coconut
- crushed graham crackers
- crushed pretzel pieces
- Cut apples into slices. I used a mix of large red and green apples. Store in an airtight zip-top bag, and spray a little lemon juice or lemon-lime soda on them, toss to coat, in order to keep them from browning too quickly. Try to serve within a few hours of cutting your apples.
- Set out bowls of your dips (melted chocolate, Nutella, caramel sauce, etc.) and toppings (crushed peanuts, toffee, chocolate chips, etc.)
- Serve with plenty of napkins - this is one sticky, sweet dessert!
After putting together this DIY caramel apple bar, I had all of these other topping ideas; I’m thinking s’mores apples (a.k.a., adding crumbled graham cracker and marshmallow fluff to the mix), chocolate peanut butter pretzel apples (with melted chocolate, crushed pretzels, and peanut butter chips), and Nutella apples (because, Nutella.)
Tell me this isn’t making you want to chop up on apple, break out the chocolate and various toppings, and get messy?
If you put together your own DIY caramel apple bar, be sure to tag me on social media (@glitterinclexi) so I can live vicariously through all of your sweet creations!
Photo by Annie Watts Photography for Glitter, Inc.
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