Saturday, May 16, 2020

APPLE PIE BARS

Everyone loves these APPLE PIE BARS. There are 3 layers: A sweet and buttery shortbread crust, topped with a juicy apple filling and topped with a sweet and crunchy streusel topping. Even picky-picky husband gives these a (rare) "Two Thumbs Up" !!!

It was hard to get a good photo

This recipe only requires 3 large apples + pantry staples, so it has been a favorite during this Corona Virus grocery shortage.

The full recipe makes a 9 x 13 pan of bars, but if you are like us (empty nesters), half of the recipe works well in a 9 x 9 pan. They also freeze well.


SHORTBREAD CRUST
21 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled to room temp.
This seems like a lot of butter, but it makes an 
upper AND lower crust
1 cup of white sugar
2 large egg YOLKS
3 cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix crust ingredients with a stand mixer because it makes a very stiff dough. Pat TWO CUPS of this dough evenly into a parchment (or foil) lined 9 x 13 pan (you will use the rest of the dough in the struesel topping, later in the recipe). 

Once you get the crust patted out evenly in the 9 x 13 pan, prick it with a fork, like this, then put the pan of raw dough in the freezer for about 10 minutes. 


Bake the 9 x 13 chilled crust, on the middle rack of your oven, for 20 minutes at 325°

While the crust is par-baking, core and peel large 3 apples (any variety). Put them in the food processor with 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, a 1/4 teaspoon  nutmeg** and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.

Pulse the apples a few times, until the apples are about the size of green peas.  You should get about 4 cups of chopped apples.

Also, while the crust is par-baking, add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of small chopped pecans to the reserved dough you have left. I use a pastry cutter to work the sugar and nuts into the dough, but a fork works well too...just break up any big clumps.

Now it's time to put the 3 layers together. Take the partially baked crust out of the oven and put the chopped apple mixture on it. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the apples and press (ever so lightly).

Bake on the TOP rack of a 350° oven for 35 minutes.

Cool baked bars (in the pan) on a wire rack for at least an hour. When the bottom of the pan is completely cool to the touch, lift the bars out of the pan by pulling on the flap ends of the foil. 


Sometimes I put a simple
vanilla glaze frosting on these bars
but they certainly don't need it

NOTE: The butter measurement of 21 tablespoons is NOT a typing error.

NOTE: *This recipe calls for a pinch of nutmeg. Nutmeg goes a long way and you can leave it out if you don't care for the taste.


NOTE: Line  your 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment (or foil) and leave the ends of the foil a little long, so you can use them as handles to lift the cooled bars out of the pan. You don't have to grease the bottom of the pan because there's so much butter in the shortbread, but DO spray the sides of the pan/foil with cooking spray so the apples don't stick to the sides.

NOTE: Pay attention to baking temperatures. The first crust pre-bake is on the middle rack at 325°. The final bake is on the TOP rack at 350° so that the bottom of the crust doesn't get too dark.


NOTE: If you are going to use a super crisp apple, like a Granny Smith....pre-cook them for about 30 seconds (in the microwave) before you put them onto the shortbread crust.


ENJOY !!!



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