Of all kinds of pie, apple is my favorite — by far. But really, the part I love about pie is the crust –not the fruit.
And to top it all off, I really don’t like making pie crust. I can do it, I just HATE IT.
So these bars seemed like the perfect solution! Apple pie, in bar form, with more “crust” — awesome!
They really are delicious. You could omit the nuts if you wanted, but they add a nice crunch to the strusel topping, so I recommend you use them.
Apple Pie Bars
*Julie says it makes 12 bars…I cut mine smaller and got about 18
For the filling:
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
For the strusel:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, as I used)
– Cook the apples: In a large skillet or stockpot over medium heat, combine apples with the brown sugar, lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom. Cover the pan for 5 minutes to allow the juices to release, and then uncover and cook, stirring occasionally until the apples have turned a golden brown and there is almost no liquid left in the pan (Julie says 15-20 minutes — but my apples were super-juicy and took a little longer). Set aside apples to cool.
– Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil and butter the foil. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the brown sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix to blend. Then, on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined. With lightly floured hands, press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown.
While the crust is baking, prepare the streusel.
– For the streusel: Combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in pecans (or walnuts).
– When the crust is done, immediately spread the cooked apples evenly over the hot crust. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples, lightly pressing to adhere. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the bars for 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned and crisp.
– Let the pan rest to cool and chill for several hours before cutting. Lift the bars out of the pan with the foil and cut on a flat surface.
– Julie says to dust the bars with confectioner’s sugar and serve — I omitted the confectioners sugar
– Julie reccommends granny smith apples here, but you can use your favorite baking apple
– To get nice clean lines on your bars when you cut them, you must let them cool for a few hours. Fresh out of the oven, they’re too soft to stand up to a knife
– I’m sure you could omit the cardamom if you don’t have it (it’s pretty expensive..) but if you have it, throw it in. It adds a nice undercurrent of flavor to the apples.