Caramel/Apple Bars

Crust and Topping:
3/4 cup butter-flavor vegetable shortening

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1.2 tsp. baking soda
1-3/4 cup quick oats, uncooked
3 to 4 large Granny Smith, Golden delicious or Jonathan apples (I used Jonathan), peeled and cut into 1/2 pieces (about 4 cups)
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. lemon juice
1- 14 oz. bag caramel candy, unwrapped or 1 tub of soft caramel (kind that is used for dipping.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
For crust, combine shortening and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer. Add egg to creamed mixture and beat until well blended.
Combine 1-1/2 cups flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture gradually. Add in oats. Mix until blended. Bake at 350 degrees. for 10 minutes.
For Filling: Toss apples with 2 Tablespoons flour and lemon juice. Distribute apple mixture evenly over partially baked crust. Press in lightly. Place caramels in microwave on high for one minute and if using the tub caramel, only try 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat till soft. Drizzle melted caramels over the apples. Crumble reserved topping evenly over caramel.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender and top is golden brown. Loosen caramel from sides of pan with knife. Cool completely. Do not over bake. Cut into 1-1/2 bars. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to store.

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