This Apple Pie Bars Recipe is made with a buttery shortbread crust, the most perfect apple pie filling and finished off with a delicious oatmeal streusel topping. 3 layers of AMAZINGNESS. Highly recommend to serve with vanilla bean ice cream!!
I snagged this apple pie bar recipe from Cameron’s Grandma recently. She makes it often and it’s always a hit when we all get together.
The recipe she used was actually Ina Garten’s Apple Pie Bars and I knew I had to make a version of my own.
I tested out Ina Garten’s recipe and it was obviously amazing. I mean, it has 4 1/2 sticks of butter in it how could it not be amazing?!
Although I must say, I wasn’t a fan of using the the dough for the both the crust and the topping so I made my own oatmeal streusel topping.
I think the slightly crunchy oats adds a delicious dimension to this apple pie bar recipe.
The oatmeal streusel topping is so great too because it’s simple to prepare and can be prepared actually 1 day ahead.
It may seem like there are a lot of steps to making these bars, so making the streusel topping in advance just means one less thing to do on the day you make these apple pie bars.
Here’s the gang.
And to make it easier, let’s split up what you need into 3 sections. Don’t be intimidated by the 3 layers! It’s not as labor intensive as it may seem.
Easier to make than a homemade pie crust, and it’s so buttery and delicious!
Apples (I like to use ~6-8 apples (~3 lbs), and a mix between Pink Lady & Granny Smith or sweet + tart apples)
Cornstarch (or flour) – for the thickener.
Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats (not quick cook or 1-minute_
How to make these Addictive Apple Pie Bars
The shortbread crust, apple pie filling and delicious streusel topping are all simple to make and create the most delicious apple pie bar recipe ever. Let’s do it!
Make the streusel topping: Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and cut in butter. I like to do this first, cover, and chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the dessert.
Make the shortbread crust: Use a stand mixer or hand mixer. Press into a 9×13 inch glass baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
Make the apple pie filling: Peel, core and slice the apples. Toss with seasonings in a large bowl and then cook apples on stove 5-8 minutes or until softened.
Place apple slices on top of shortbread crust layer.
Top apples with the oatmeal streusel topping.
Bake until top crust is golden brown. Cool for at least an hour. Slice and enjoy!
Tips & tricks for this Apple Pie Bars Recipe:
Use a combination of 2 different apples. Some sweet, some tart. This helps to balance the overall flavor of the apple pie bars.
For instance, I used Granny Smith which are tart and Pink Lady, which are sweet. Other tart apples include Braeburn. Sweet apples or sweet-tart apple ideas include Gala, Jonagold, or Honeycrisp.
You can either precook your apples, or not. Now let me explain. I’ve tested this recipe both ways.
Precooking your apples: Precooking your apple pie filling for 5-10 minutes before layering it on the shortbread crust is an added step, but it helps to release the fruits liquid and helps them cook down.
Precooking your apples ensures thoroughly cooked apples in the finished dessert (not undercooked or crunchy) and never leaves you with a watery apple pie bar.
If you don’t want to cook your apples, omit the cornstarch or flour and stir the apples together with the seasonings and lemon juice. Let the apples rest on the counter for 30-40 minutes and strain any excess juices that build up in the bowl.
Be sure to slice apples all the same thickness. About 1/4th inch thick. I like to use the attachment on my kitchen aid stand mixer to peel, core and slice the apples evenly.
To freeze: cool completely and store in freezer safe baggie or container. I like to slice and let cool on parchment paper.
These Apple Pie Bars are made with a buttery shortbread crust, a perfect apple pie filling and finished off with a delicious oatmeal streusel topping. Highly recommend to serve with vanilla bean ice cream!
6-8apples (~3 lbs.) Mix of Granny Smith + Pink Ladycored, peeled, thinly sliced (~1/4 inch thick)
1lemon, juiced (~ 2 Tbsp.)
1/2cupwater, as needed
1cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats (not quick cook or 1-minute)
1cupbrown sugar, packedlight or dark is fine!
1stickchilled, unsalted butter cut into cubes (8 Tbsp.)
Make the streusel topping first: In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Cut in the chilled, cubed butter or mix with fingertips until the mixture comes together in clumps. Cover the streusel and place in refrigerator to chill while you prepare the shortbread crust and apple pie filling.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Make the shortbread crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter, white sugar and brown sugar together until creamy. Add in the vanilla and then with the mixer on low gradually add in the dry ingredients. Press this into a 9×13 glass baking dish and refrigerate for 20 minutes (don't skip this step!). Once chilled, bake for 18 minutes in the oven. Remove and let cool while you prepare the filling. Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F.
Place the sliced apples in a large mixing bowl and mix in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch and add to apples. (This is the thickener). Pour the apple mixture into a large saucepan over medium heat and cook for 5-8 minutes or until apples soften. Stir occasionally and add water as needed so apples don't burn or scorch pan.
Layer the apples over the shortbread crust. Top the apples with the streusel. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let apple pie bars cool. Slice and serve as is or with vanilla bean ice cream!
This recipe is adapted from the wonderful Ina Garten. I’ve made a few small changes but nothing too significant. Streusel Topping can be prepared 1 day ahead to save time; keep chilled.Cook the apples on the stove until apples are soft and use a thickening agent like flour or cornstarch to transform the cooked fruit’s juices from runny mess to luscious, slice-able filling. Do not add too much thickener to your apple pie filling because it will turn it cloudy and pasty. Only need to cook for 5-8 minutes since apples will continue to cook in the oven.Be sure to refer to step by step photos within blog post for guidance.
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