Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apple Pie Bars

Finally, I am back on track with baking Fall goodies to add to my repertoire.  I have yet to bake an apple pie from scratch but these apple pie bars are the perfect lead in.  These were quite labor intensive but so worth it.  (Note to self: Ask for an apple corer and a mandoline for Christmas!) The tart apple filling balanced perfectly with the sweet shortbread crust.  As for the crumb topping, I  could eat it by the spoonful.  When making the recipe, it seemed like a lot of crumb topping but trust me, you want every morsel packed on top.

Step 1 - Make the crust

Step 2 - Make the filling

Step 3 - Make the topping

Step 4 - Assemble and Bake

Apple Pie Bars
from My Baking Addiction
Makes 4 dozen bars

For the Crust
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Filling
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, if necessary

For the Topping
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
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Make the Crust
Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with foil, allowing it to come up the edges.  Grease the foil lightly. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms.

Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan creating an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.

Make the Filling
In an extra large skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter with 1/2 cup of the light brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes or longer.  Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated.  Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet and if necessary, add up to 1/2 cup of water to prevent scorching. Let cool. (I did not need to add any water to my skillet.)

Make the Topping
In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the pecans.

Assemble and Bake
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 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into bars.

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