Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Apple Crumb Bars

These apple crumb bars are good.  So good, in fact, that I brought them to my aunt and uncle's house for a party, and they were devoured so quickly that I ended up making a second batch of them right then and there.  Maybe that isn't how most people spend their time at parties, but that is exactly what I prefer to do :)

I can't say enough good things about these bars.  They're almost like apple pie, minus all the work of a pie, and minus the commitment to a whole entire slice.  This way you can hold a little bit of pie in your hand (or a lot... there may or may not have been a few double fist-ers) .  It has the perfect ratio of crust and apple filling, and they are soft, sweet, and oh so good.

Don't be scared off by the fact that there are three components to these bars (the crust, the filling, and the topping).  They really are not at all difficult and they come together pretty quickly - after all, I did make two batches of them in 2 days - including once at a party -  and didn't feel at all overwhelmed!  If you have some apples right now, I'd suggest heading out to your kitchen to make a batch.  Just don't be surprised if you take them to a party and have people hand you apples and a bag of flour ;)


apple crumb bars
from Annie's Eats

for the base:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

for the filling:
4 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely diced
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup fruit jam (once I used apple butter, the next time I used mango peach!  Both excellent)

for the topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


1) To prepare the filling, in a large skillet combine the apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes until apples are tender but still firm.  In a small cup, whisk together cornstarch and lemon juice.  Add to the apple mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8" baking dish with foil, leaving overhang on both sides for easy removal later.  Grease foil.

3) To make the base, in a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Mix well.  Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two forks, or your hands, until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven.  Spread fruit jam evenly on the base while it is still hot.  Top with the cooked apple mixture..

4) In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the topping.  Mix well until combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle over the apple layer.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Using the foil, lift out to pan.  Cut into squares and serve (if desired, refrigerate before cutting to firm up a bit for easier slicing.... or do what we did at the party and just hack at it crazily the second it comes out of the oven!).

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