Apple Pie is easily one of my favorite desserts. However, it is definitely NOT my favorite dessert to make. These bars will help lessen the pain of making apple pie by using a delicious, flakey shortbread crust while still maintaining every delicious flavor that we know and love. These bars are full of cinnamon spices, tart apples, and brown sugar goodness.
To my nephew, dessert means chocolate. If it isn’t chocolate covered in more chocolate topped in a mountainous pile of chocolate then it isn’t dessert. And to some degree, I get it. Chocolate is the ultimate feel good treat.
I mean, I’m sure we’ve all dreamed of what it would be like to swim in Willy Wonka’s chocolate river, right?! Doing the backstroke through the warm, rich heavenly dessert. What could be better?
Well, for me, there are about 6,000 things that rank higher on my list of indulgent treats. To start, I would have much rather stuck with Violet eating giant sized gummy bears. I definitely would not have been the kid sucked up in the chocolate river. Nope. Not me. Maybe my nephew, but certainly not me!
I’m that odd person who chooses lemon pie over chocolate lava cake. I’m also the one who picks strawberry cupcakes over dark chocolate peanut butter brownies. Yep, that’s me. I’m the reason there is 1 fruity dessert amongst the infinite list of chocolate ones.
So, in honor of my weird (unique?) taste preferences, here is one of my favorite desserts in the entire universe. APPLE PIE. Actually, apple-anything is my favorite (I do not discriminate when it comes to apple desserts).
And, BONUS. These are in bar form so I can easily grab them when I’m on the go! Because, doesn’t everyone take apple pie bars on errands with them? Wait, what about the necessary vanilla ice cream? Okay, that is a problem for a later time.
For now, I’m going to watch Netflix, shovel pie into my face, and live in utter bliss.
Apple Pie Shortbread Bars
These bars are for all the people who love apple pie but don't love making it. They are full of all the cinnamon-y goodness found in our beloved apple dessert without all the hassle!
-1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
-½ cup brown sugar, packed
-2 & ½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-2 tablespoons honey
-3/4 cup old fashioned whole oats
-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
-1/3 cup butter, softened
-1 tablespoon granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-5 large granny smith apples, peeled & thinly sliced
-2 & ½ tablespoons lemon juice
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
For the crust:
-Preheat oven to 315°F. Line a 9×13 inch glass pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking oil.
-In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Scrape down the bowl. With then mixer on low, add the flour and honey. Mix until thoroughly combined.
-Next, use a rubber spatula to evenly spread mixture into lined pan. Then, firmly press down using the back of the spatula or fingertips. It’s important to make sure the crust is an even layer and is patted down tightly.
-Place crust in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes or until finished making the crumble topping and apple filling.
-Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.
For the crumble topping:
-While the crust is baking, make the crumble. In a large bowl (or the bowl used to make crust), combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients together. Then use a pastry blender or two forks (or hands), to create small crumbs. The mixture should start coming together, creating small clumps with a couple large ones.
-Set crumble mixture aside.
For the apple filling:
-Add the lemon juice to a medium/large bowl. Then add the sliced apples and gently mix with the juice (this prevents browning). Add the sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Use a rubber spatula to combine until all apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
Assemble the bars:
-Once the oven has finished heating to 350°F and the crust has cooled, assemble the apple pie bars.
-Use a large spoon to add the apples on top of the crust. Make sure to not spoon in the excess juice from the apple filling.
-Pour the crumble topping evenly on top of the apples.
-Place in the oven for 42-46 minutes or until crumble topping is golden and apples are tender. I bake mine for 44 minutes, but all ovens are different so be sure to watch carefully.
-Remove from oven and let cool for 2 hours before cutting.
-Use a SHARP knife to cut into bars. Serve with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
-It is crucial to be sure to slice apples uniformly. This ensures that they all cook evenly in the oven.