Call me crazy but I'm not a big fan of apple pie. It's just rare for me to eat one that is really, really delicious and perfect. It's not worth the calories unless it's that way! Usually it's just blah to me so I'm more of a cherry, chocolate, and banana cream kind of girl. I found this recipe last year and it sounded so interesting to me. Apple pie in bar form? I had to try it! I LOVE these so much. They taste just like a really good apple pie. They are a labor of love but not hard to make, there's just quite a few steps. Have some friends/family in mind to share these with when you make them because it makes a lot. Happy baking!
APPLE PIE BARS
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds)—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup water, as necessary
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
1. Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour, spices and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and 1/2 inch up the side in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a very large, deep skillet melt the butter with the brown sugar. (If you don’t have a large skillet, divide between 2 skillets). Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet and add up to 1/2 cup of water to the pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.
3. Prepare the topping: In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using fingers (wash your hands and take off your rings first!), squeeze the butter into the oats & sugar and crumble together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture into clumps.
4. Assemble the bars: Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking, and keep an eye on it to make sure the top isn’t getting too browned. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.
Makes 4 dozen bars
*For this recipe, the 15×17-inch rimmed baking sheet is easiest to use. It fits perfectly in this pan. If you don’t have this pan, you can try and wing it using a couple of smaller ones.
**This recipe makes a large quantity. Make sure you have lots of people to feed
***The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for up to a month (they freeze well- try putting them in individual zip bags for impromptu snacks or as an easy addition to your child’s lunch box).