Caramel Apple Bars

* CRUST:

* 1/2 cup butter, softened

* 1/4 cup shortening

* 1 cup packed brown sugar

* 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

* FILLING:

* 4-1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled tart apples

* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

* 1 package (14 ounces) Werther's® Original Chewy Caramels

* 3 tablespoons butter

Directions

* In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour, oats, salt and baking soda; mix well. Stir in pecans if desired. Set aside 2 cups. Press remaining oat mixture into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan.

* For filling, toss apples with flour; spoon over the crust. In a saucepan, melt the caramels and butter over low heat; drizzle over apples. Top with the reserved oat mixture.

* Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool before cutting into bars. Yield: 15-20 servings.