Fall Recipe: Apple Pie Bars

I'm a big fan of dessert bars, as evidenced by the fact that one of the other two recipes I've posted on this blog is for Christmas salted caramel butter bars. They're just so easy to make, so buttery and delicious, and they're harder to mess up than pies.

And in this case, I have to say: I like apple pie bars better than actual apple pie. I might get the stink eye for this, but I just do! I'm not a fan of big apple chunks in apple pies, and they're often a little soupy. It's most likely because I've never had a good apple pie, but that is a testament to how difficult they are to achieve perfectly, so in the meantime, I'm sticking to apple pie bars.

These were a hit with both our friends and my husband, and the whole pan disappeared within a few hours. The ratio of apple filling to crust is, in my opinion, absolutely perfect, but you could definitely add more apples if you prefer a stronger apple spiced taste.

Next time you go apple picking, try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Apple Pie Bars
Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking
Serves: 24 bars

Ingredients for the crust and topping:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 sticks (1.5 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Ingredients for the apple filling:

3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8-inch slices
3 large Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8-inch slices
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2/3 cup sugar


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 inch pan with butter.

2. Make the crust: mix flour, sugar, spices and salt together. Add cold cubed butter and mix with the blade attachment of your food processor or with a manual pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Put 1 1/2 cups of the mixture in a medium bowl, press together to form a solid mass, then cover and refrigerate.

3. Pour the remaining mixture into the prepared pan and spread in an even layer, then press into the bottom of the pan.

4. Bake until golden brown and dry to the touch, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the filling.

5. Make the filling: toss the apples with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom and sizzle for 15 seconds. Add apples and cook, stirring often, until they just start to soften. Add sugar and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid releases and evaporates from the apple, 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure not to cook too long or the apples will stick to the pan and burn. Remove from heat and cool. To make them cool faster, spread them on a parchment-lined sheet pan and place in the freezer for 5 to 7 minutes.

6. Spread apple filling evenly over the crust and press down gently to get rid of any gaps between the apple slices. Crumble the reserved crust mixture evenly on top.

7. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake until the topping is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, then cut into 6 even strips crosswise and 4 even strips lengthwise.

Warm Autumn Stroll

Fox & Spice © . Design by Berenica Designs. I make a commission for purchases made through the Amazon.com links as a participant in the Amazon Associates Program.