Apple Crumb Bars
Oh heyyyyy apples. And cinnamon. And ginger. And nutmeg. And tender crust. And crispy crumb topping. Howdy. Just in time for Thanksgiving, you are.
We've covered the mandatory Thanksgiving pumpkin pie-type recipe last week. In the form of pumpkin pie streusel bars.
And now we're embracing the second most popular Thanksgiving dessert ingredient: apples. Or is it pecans? Let's just say it's apples for the sake of these apple crumb bars we have here.
Streusel bars last week. Crumb bars this week.
What can I say, I'm making up for lost time and opportunities with these crumb bars. Last week's pumpkin pie bars were the first crumb bar recipe ever on the blog. Which makes these apple crumb bars only the second.
And in case you were wondering, streusel topping and crumb topping are most probably the same exact thing. Or at least I don't know of any difference between the two. But I used the two different variations in my titles for the pumpkin bars and these apple bars just to make things more exciting.
Allow me to share something about myself: I LOVE CRUMB TOPPING SO MUCH.
Like I think it's actually my favorite thing to eat raw. Raw crumb topping is the bomb.com/cantstopwontstopeatingrawcrumbtopping
Crumb topping is also wonderful not raw. Fully baked crumb topping works for me too.
When I was younger, my mom used to make this one apple crumble all the time and I would just sit on the counter for hours picking off all the crumb topping. I may or may not still do the same thing at 22 years of age. And I may or may not have eaten all the crumbs off of these bars right after I photographed them. Innocent until proven guilty.
Another great thing about these apple crumb bars, aside from the crumb part, is the crust. Because IT'S THE SAME EXACT RECIPE AS THE CRUMBLE.
And I capitalized that not only to re-emphasize my love for crumble, but also to declare my appreciation for recipes that use the same mixture for both the base and the crumb topping.
Meaning, you mix together all the crust ingredients in a bowl, press half of it firmly into your pan, and save the other half to sprinkle on top later as your crumble.
And while the crust becomes tender and just slightly crispy in the oven, the crumble gets all golden brown and beautiful and crunchy after baking. Magic, I tell you.
As for the apples, use your favorite tart apples or even a combination of your favorites. Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady - you know the drill.
It has just occurred to me as I'm writing this that the apple is the only fruit I know of to have such distinct and kinda ridiculous names for its many varieties. And nobody bats an eyelash. Granny Smith? Pink Lady? C'mon - that's funny.
Anyway. Pick your apples, peel, quarter, and slice them, and then mix the slices with some lemon juice for a bit more tartness, brown sugar for a bit more sweetness and caramel flavor, and cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg for that fall/Thankgsgiving/apple pie vibe we've got going on.
Assembling the crust takes two minutes. Baking it takes thirteen. While it's baking, you can make the apple filling. You'll be done by the time the crust is finished baking. Then you just pour the apple filling over the crust and sprinkle the crumble over the apples.
Then the pan goes right back into the oven and the bars are baked for another thirty-five minutes.
Cool, slice, eat. With ice cream. Because apple pie (or bars) with ice cream is about as American as Thanksgiving is.
Apple Crumb Bars
Yield: about 16 bars
Crust and crumble:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter or oil
5 tart apples
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. Pour in egg, vanilla extract, and butter/oil and mix till thick, crumbly dough forms.
Press 1/2 mixture firmly into your baking dish. Bake for 13-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, quarter, and slice the apples into thinnish wedges. Add to a large bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients and mix until apples are evenly coated. Pour apples onto pre-baked crust. Sprinkle remaining crumble over the apples evenly.
Bake bars for 35-40 minutes, or until the crumble is a nice golden brown. Bake a little longer if you want your crust more crispy than tender. Allow crumble to cool completely before slicing into bars.