Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apple Pie Bars

Finally, finally, finally getting a break from the 90+ degree temps today.  It's a gloriously rainy Sunday and right behind this much needed rain is some much needed cooler weather.   About damn time!





I made these bars the other day to take to a tennis match.  Unfortunately our team lost but these were a big hit!  Can't win everything I guess.  These are the perfect combination of apple pie combined with apple crisp.  A light thin crust on bottom topped with caramelized apples with a crunchy layer of walnuts and oats on top of that.  Super yummy!



Hubs christened them "the best apple things I've ever made"!  I'll take that!  These were good served all by themselves or even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  This makes a ton, so unless you're serving several people, you may want to halve the recipe.

Apple Pie Bars
(I saved this recipe from a Food and Wine Magazine email)

Crust:

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-uprpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

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 cup water, as necessary

Topping:

3/4 cup walnuts
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

Directions

1.  Make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a 15x17 inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper (I buttered the pan first, then buttered the parchment).  In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, 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 and 1/2 inch up the side in 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.

Meanwhile, make the filling:  In each of 2 large skillets, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with 1/4 cup of the light brown sugar.  Add the apples to the skillets and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir half of the cinnamon and nutmeg into each skillet.   Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillets and add up to 1/2 cup of water to each pan as necessary to prevent scorching.  Let cool.

Make the topping:  Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes.  Let cool, then coarsely chop the walnuts.  In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt  Using a pastry blender or two knives (I think it's easiest to just get in there with your hands!) cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the walnuts and press the mixture into clumps.

Spread the apple filling over the cooled crust.  Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer.  Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking.  Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into bars.

The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for up to a month.

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