As fall approaches, I start testing apple desserts. And this easy apple bars recipe passed with flying colors. I didn’t even need to use beaters or a stand mixer; a pastry blender* worked just fine (you can also use a fork to mash the crumb mixture). They also go by the name of apple crisp bars.
Although I tend to use Grannysmith apples when baking because they hold up well and I like their tartness contrasted with the sweet crumb, feel free to use your favorite baking apple! (or a mix of apples.)
Apple Crumb Bars
For The Apple Layer
- 3 1/2 cups diced apple (from about 2 large apples)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (you can also use pecans)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
For The Crust and Crumb Layer
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
Maple Glaze (Optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream (or milk)
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.
Place all ingredients for the apples into a bowl. Toss to coat and evenly distribute all ingredients. Let sit 5-10 minutes and then toss again.
Place first 5 ingredients for the crust/crumb into a bowl. Blend the ingredients together using a pastry blender or a fork until the butter has been incorporated and there are crumbs about the size of peas. Add the egg to the crumb mixture and lightly fold just until the egg has been incorporated. Try not to over work the mixture. You want for there to still be pea-sized crumbs after adding the egg.
Reserve 1 heaping cup of the crumb mixture. Pour the rest of the crumb into the prepared baking dish. Using your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup, gently press the crumb mixture into the dish to form a level crust. Next evenly distribute the apple mixture over the crust. Finally, sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture evenly over the apples.
Bake for about 50 – 60 minutes or until crumb is golden and apples are soft. Start checking after 50 minutes. Remove and let cool.
To make glaze, add powdered sugar to a small bowl. Add maple syrup and 1 Tbsp. of the heavy cream or milk. Mix well. Continue to add cream, a little bit at a time, until you achieve the glaze consistency that you like (I like mine thick). Once bars have cooled (wait at least an hour after they come out of the oven) drizzle glaze over the bars.
*Pastry blenders can be purchased inexpensively at most kitchen stores or stores that have a large kitchen section (such as Walmart or Target); they can also be purchased online.