If apple pie and butter-loaded shortbread had a baby, these Apple Pie Bars would be the result. Adapted (ever so slightly) from Ina Garten’s, they’re loaded with the fall-flavored goodness of roasted apples. They sport an unctuously satisfying shortbread crust. And, the crust gets a simple dress-up to double as the topping, making these handheld treats super easy to make!
Last weekend brought a string of brilliantly crisp, sunshine filled days. The kind that are perfect for sweater wearing, paintballing, and drinking extra cups of coffee-loaded muscle milk (hello guilt-free mocha).
We went to Costco, ate fried chicken, and played a little basketball. I got splattered with bruises on my arms and my legs my hands, and one, very unfortunate, bruise on my head which I keep inadvertently poking when I wash my hair.
Friday night, I watched the sunset from the most gorgeous deck overlooking Lake Washington. I was surrounded by some of my favorite Kenmore Air peps. We noshed. We drank. We toasted the amazing Emily Mamales, who took a new job, but will always be part of the Kenmore Air family.
And as I drove home, I couldn’t help but think about the amazing people in my life.
I like to collect things (also known to Garrett as hoarding). Books. Kitchen utensils. Old pairs of shoes I may need someday.
But I’ve realized, what I like to collect more than anything is people. Good people. Amazing people. Men and women who fill me up and inspire me. I like to load my life with them. That’s one of the best things about my job.
I get to meet people. I get to cultivate relationships with fabulous humans from all walks of life. And hot damn if that’s not something to celebrate. Thank you to all those who have helped make my life so rich. I’m truly blessed to share, even just a fraction, of this life with you.
Apple Pie Bars
The first time I made this, I followed the recipe exactly. But over the course of several renditions, I found I liked a mix of Golden Delicious and Pink Lady better. I also liked a bit more lemon juice and I definitely prefer skipping the addition of walnuts to the topping. If you end up heavy on the apples, have no fear. It just means a little more ‘filling,’ which is definitely not a bad thing.
Finally, it’s ESSENTIAL that the butter is room temperature. Don’t try and fudge this, as it will make the crust clumpy instead of fluffy and smooth.
Final, final note. Ina Garten is a kitchen goddess. So, if you find her original variation better, I won’t blame you one bit.
1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1½ lbs Pink Lady apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
1½ pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 TBS (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until the butter and sugar are light and creamy.
Sift flour and salt. With mixer running on low, gradually add flour mixture, mixing until fully combined. (You’ll likely need to scrape down the sides one or two times.)
Scatter two-thirds of the dough in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Using your hands, press the dough into an even layer across the bottom and about a ½ inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool.
With remaining dough, add cinnamon and mix on low speed to combine.
Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well to fully coat all sliced.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat until just beginning to foam. Add apple mixture and simmer until apples are tender, and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
Spread apples over crust. Pinch remaining dough into small pieces and spread over top of apple mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until top is browned.
If you want your bars to be really pretty, allow them to cool completely before cutting. However, they’re pretty tasty warm. I may or may not be known to dig into them right away.