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There is no big back story here – I love apple crisp, and I wanted to turn it into something a little more portable, like a bar.
Apples have done very well around here this year, which has brought the prices way down, and it is really difficult for me to pass up a deal, so we’ve ended up with quite a supply of all my favorites – Northern Spies, Cortlands, Jonagold, Macintosh and Macouns. Later in the season, some of these varieties get a little softer, and they aren’t so great for baking, but right now, they are crisp and juicy and perfect – especially if you combine them. Then you get all these little nuances of flavor and differing textures – SO good!
Looking around for existing recipes, I found they either used mixes and canned apples, or they were super fussy with three distinct layers, each with their own recipe. Well, you know anything processed is out around here, and for sure I didn’t want to mess around with three different mixtures, so I began to think about what would work for both a crust and the typical crisp topping.
Turns out that if you just increase the butter a little bit, the same mixture works very well for both, and with just a little tweaking, I came up with these tasty things. The crust and topping mixture can be made right in the food processor, so it only takes a few minutes to get these together.
The sugar in this recipe, as is often true for fresh fruit recipes, may have to be adjusted for your personal taste and according to how sweet your apples may be. My first batch turned out on the sweet side for us, so this recipe shows a reduction in the amount of sugar. if you think you will like it to be sweeter, up the sugar on the apples a bit.Peeling and chopping the apples is probably going to take the longest, but you do want to cut the apples in fairly small pieces, because otherwise, the bars will be more difficult to eat. And, as I mentioned above, combining more than one variety will result in differing flavors and textures in the bars, if you only have one kind of apples on hand, don’t let that stop you – make these anyway!
Apple Crisp Bars
- About 2 pounds of fresh apples
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- the juice and zest of 1 lemon
The Crust and Topping
- 6 ounces cold butter cut in small cubes
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups whole oats
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Generously butter a 9 x 13 baking dish, and preheat the oven to 350º
Prepare the Filling
- Peel and core the apples and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. You need 5 to 6 cups, which may take a little less than 2 pound of apples.
- In a medium bowl, combine the apples, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and lemon juice and zest. Set aside.
Make the Crust and Topping
- This is most easily done in a large food processor, but you can also use a pastry cutter, or your hands.
- Put all of the topping ingredients in the bowl of the food processor, and pulse until everything is well combined. You may need to scrape the side of the bowl or time or two, but if your butter is cold at the start you probably won't have to.
- Reserve a generous 2 cups of this mixture, and empty the rest in the prepared 9 x 13 pan. Spread the crust evenly in the pan, and press down firmly to compact the mixture into a crust. I use a flat bottoms measuring cup to make sure it's even.
- Place the pan with the crust mixture in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven carefully, give the apples a good stir, and spread them evenly over the crust.
- Crumble the reserved two cups of the oat mixture over the apples.
- Return to the oven and bake for about an hour, until the top in nicely browned and the apples are bubbly at the edges.
- Cool completely before cutting into bars or squares.
- After 24 hours, leftovers should be refrigerated.
These can be eaten out of hand, or they could serve as the base for a really amazing ice cream sundae, with some vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce on top.
This recipe makes a lot of bars, and they are quite rich, making them a really good choice to take to a fall gathering or party. Who wouldn’t love to see you come through the door with a big plate of these?