I admit it, I have been in a rut. This past year has been challenging on many levels and once of the many pieces of myself I have give up has been cooking, photography and blogging. If and when I do cook something good, I don’t want to be bothered with staging it for a shoot or for that matter even writing down my creation.
Thanks to one of my favorite blogs, Derfwad Manor, Mrs. G. recently challenged her readers with a question about what our little dreams or “dreamlettes” were for the month of May. Well, here is one of mine…to actually post something again. This wouldn’t be my first choice for a re-entry post but I figured, I had better just jump right in. I made these bars for a gathering at our house last night and while they were good, I am already anxious to make or for that matter re-make them the way I imagine them in my mind. So for this post, I will give you the original recipe as well as my suggestions on how to amp them up. Hopefully, I will post an updated version of this recipe in the near future.
Apple Crisp Bars
recipe from The Fearless Baker
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter (I will use salted next time)
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 lbs. Gala or Fuji apples (This definitely needs more apples, shoot for about 8 -10 cups when peeled,cored and sliced into 1/4″ slices and use a mixture of sweet/tart apples such as Granny Smith and Golden Delicious
- 1/2 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Streusel Topping (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut the butter into 1/2′ pieces. Put 1-1/2 cup flour and the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and lightly mix together. Cut butter pieces into flour mixture with pastry cutter or two forks until pieces are approximate size of small peas or rolled oats. The original directions called for doing this step in a food processor but I found it was hard to control the size of the butter pieces and did not produce the desired results.
Transfer the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan and pat with your fingers to spread into an even layer. Don’t press too it together too firmly. Bake the crust in the oven until golden brown. Set timer for 20 minutes and check. Continue cooking, for up to 5 additional minutes until the crust achieves a light golden brown.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. This is the part of the recipe that needs the most work, so I am just going to give you my recommendations for the method that I feel will produce the best results. Peel, core and slice apples into approximately 1/4″ wedges. Shoot for between 8 – 10 cups of apples. Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, vanilla and water in a large skillet. Mix well and cook over medium heat until apples soften and absorb most of the liquid. This should take between 15 – 20 minutes. If the apples aren’t letting off enough liquid add a little more water. Once apples are soft and have absorbed the majority of the liquid, remove from heat and let cool.
Coarsely chop the cooled apples and sit in the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Spread the apple filling over the crust. Drop the streusel mixture over the apple filling in small clumps to completely cover the top.
Bake in the preheated oven until streusel is golden brown, about 30 – 35 minutes. Set timer for 30 minutes and check, continue cooking if necessary, but be careful not to overcook.
Cool bars to room temperature in the pan before cutting into bars. For an extra special treat, serve with fresh whipped cream.
- 1/2 chopped pecan pieces
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (salted) butter, melted and cooled
In a medium bowl, stir together the pecans, flour and brown sugar. Stir in the melted butter until well combined but still “clumpy”.