Apple Pie Bars

Welcome to another Fantabulous Friday where I share my fantabulous dessert recipe for the week! Today’s awesome recipe is from my party last weekend and was a success. By success I mean it was eaten all up and I only got a small taste. Oh well, I guess that means I will have to make another one (twist my arm, please!)

These bars truly do taste like the pie version, only this hand-held delight makes for easy nibbling and finger food. Also, if you’re like this family- when I make a pie sometimes after we’ve eaten our initial piece and then the pie plate just seems to be in the way in the fridge as we slowly work our way through it- because we normally don’t indulge in desserts on a daily basis. So the bars make a perfect alternative. They cut up nicely and store well in a covered container. And you can pack a piece for your lunch a lot easier than you could a piece of pie.

APPLE PIE BARS

CRUMB TOPPING:

1 cup quick oats

1/2 cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

 CRUST:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.

1/3 cup sugar

1 & 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp kosher salt

FILLING:

3 T unsalted butter

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 375* . Coat a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. To make the crumb topping, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Scatter butter pieces on top, and using your fingers, combine ingredients to make uniform, coarse, sandy clumps. Stir in walnuts and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. To make the crust, add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and beat on high-speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in about 1/2 cup flour and the salt, then add the remaining flour gradually and beat until dough comes together in a soft ball. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and, using your hands, gently spread it out evenly over the bottom and slightly up the sides. Bake until the top is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cook completely. Leave the oven on while you prepare the filling.

4. To make the filling, place butter and brown sugar in a large skillet over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir to melt sugar with butter and form a syrup. Add apples, toss to coat with the syrup, and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until apples have softened and begin to caramelize, 15 to 20 minutes. If the pan begins to burn, sprinkle in a little water, and reduce the heat. Generally, however, if you are using fresh apples they will release some natural liquids anyway, so burning should not be a problem. When apples are very soft, stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

5. Evenly spread the apple filling over the cooled, pre-baked crust. Sprinkle the topping over and press lightly into the filling. Bake until topping is golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars to serve. Yield: 18 bars.

I will admit that this recipe is a bit involved as opposed to just throwing a pie together. However, the convenience factors I listed above far outweigh the time you will put into preparing these bars. Generally the prep time should take about 25 minutes (I’m pretty sure it took me longer) and the cooking time is 50 – 60 minutes. Does not include the cooling time, so allow yourself plenty of time to get these done before you need to serve them. Good news is the crumb topping can be done up to two days in advance. Once the bars are cooked and served, the remainders will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

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