Fourth of July: Apple Pie Bars

Fourth of July: Apple Pie Bars

This is when Frankie stopped talking to me because I got mad that she stole butter. Things were said. Lines were drawn.

Its almost 4th of July weekend and we are stoked at Cookies and Salt HQ. Preparations for an awesome Fourth are already underway: the husband is dusting off the grill, I’m baking away, and Frankie the Kitchen Dog has already eaten half a stick of butter while I wasn’t looking.

For this Independence Day, I decided to try a new riff on an American staple, apple pie. I turned this dose of Americana into Apple Pie Bars. All the cinnamon, aplle goodness, but in hand held form. So bust out the Red, White, and Blue, and have yourself a treat while celebrating the good ol’ U.S. of A! Yay ‘Merica!

Crust:

  • 1 ½ sticks of butter, softened to room temperature
  • a large pinch of salt
  • 1 ¼ cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Diced apples and the crumble topping

Filling:

  • 4-5 lbs. of apples (about 4-5 apples. I used Golden Delicious), peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 tablespoon Brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Butter (1 stick), cold and fresh out of the fridge, cubed into 1/2” pieces
  • 1/2 cup AP Flour
  • a pinch of salt

Equipment:

  • A standing mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer
  • 8″x12″ Baking sheet or pan (you could also use 9″x9″ in a pinch)
  • parchment paper
  • Non-stick spray or butter to grease the pan
  • A peeler
  • A sharp chopping knife
  • A large sauté pan
  • A bowl to make the crumble topping
  • Optional: a food processor
The dough

Making the Crust:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) Grease your baking sheet/dish using a non-stick spray or butter. Line the pan with parchment paper making sure enough hangs off of two sides so that you can use them as handles later to pull the bars out.

3) In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, confectioners sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy (about2 minutes).

4) With the mixer turned to the lowest speed, Add the flour and salt to the bowl and mix until just combined.

Plastic wrap helps wrangle this wet dough into submission

5) Dump the mixture on to your prepped baking sheet and begin to spread it out into an even layer across the pan. The crust mixture is a pretty wet dough so do this carefully. I found that it worked best to place a piece of plastic wrap across the top and use that to spread and smoosh out the mixture. I also pressed another pan the same on top of the plastic wrap and dough to help make sure it was nice and even.

6) When the dough has been spread evenly across the pan, place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to cool.

7) Bake the crust in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack to cool.

Finished crust

*You can make the crust in advance. I made mine about 5 hours before I assembled my bars. Just let it cool completely and cover it with plastic wrap.

Making the Filling:

1) In a large sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium-low heat.

The filling, fully cooked

2) Add the diced apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the pan. Stir until the apples are coated in sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

3) Cook the apples until they’re soft and there isn’t a lot of liquid left in the pan.

4) Let the apples cool for about 10 minutes.

*You can make the filling up to 3-4 in advance. Just let the apples cool completely and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Making the Crumble Topping:

In a food processor: put the butter, salt, flour and both sugars in the bowl of a food processor and blitz together until it forms a pea sized crumb

With your hands: using a fork, stir the dry ingredients together. Add the butter and begin mushing the butter and dry ingredients together. Your goal is to form clumps and crumbs, not a homogenous dough. It will be less uniform and clumpier in texture than if you use a food processor, but the results are about the same either way.

Assembly and Baking:

The assembled bars ready for baking

1) Spread your apple mixture evenly across the baked crust in about a 1/2” to 3/4” layer of apples making sure to leave a 1/2” border all the way around the crust.

2) Using your hands, sprinkle all of the crumble topping evenly across the top of the apples. Do not press down to firmly on your crumble topping or it will create a cement like layer on top of your bars when baked.

3) Bake the assembled bars at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown.

4) Let the bars cool completely (about 30 minutes) on a cooling rack.

Frankie’s penance for being a butter thief: watching me eat ALL the apple pie bars.

5) Carefully transfer the bars “sheet” onto a large cutting board using those handy parchment handles you left when you prepped your baking sheets.

6) Cut the bars into squares and enjoy. You can serve these on their own or with a scoop of ice cream and healthy dose of American pride!

Disclaimer: this is an unsponsored post. I’m writing this out of the kindness of my heart and an overwhelming sense of patriotism.

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We love each other again and all is forgiven! P.S. Her beard smells like butter

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