Apple Streusel Bars

Apple Streusel Bars by the Bluenose Baker

As I’m sure you can tell by looking at my recipe index, I love chocolate. However, we do not have an exclusive relationship. I can be easily persuaded to leave the chocolate desserts alone if I’m given an apple cinnamon option. This is unlike some people in my life who believe dessert is not dessert unless it involves chocolate!

These bars remind me of one of my all-time favorite desserts – apple pie with apple crisp topping. They are quicker to make than pie and can be eaten with your hands, which makes them perfect for a dessert tray. These Apple Crisp Bars would be a perfect addition to a Mother’s Day brunch or lunch menu.

It’s ironic that I’ve chosen these bars as a Mother’s Day treat, because in my family it’s my Dad who really loves them! I get my love of apple desserts from him. My mom falls into the previously mentioned category who believe that dessert = chocolate (I’ll be concocting some sort of chocolate treat for her Mother’s Day dessert!)

These squares come from one of my favorite recipe blogs, Sally’s Baking Addiction. They are in her first cookbook, along with a number of other recipes I make frequently.

You’ll need butter, white sugar, dark brown sugar, vanilla, salt, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, oats and apples.

Apple Streusel Bars

Preheat the oven to 300° and line an 8 x 8 inch pan with foil.

The bars start with a shortbread cookie crust. Melt ½ cup of butter in a medium bowl. Stir in sugar, vanilla and salt.

Melted Butter

Add the flour and stir until it’s all incorporated. You’ll have a soft dough.

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Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the foil-lined pan. I find it easiest to use my hands.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes while you get started on the apple filling and streusel topping.

You’ll need two apples for the filling. Since the apples are sandwiched between sweet cookie and sweeter streusel, you want a relatively tart apple. Granny Smiths work well.

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Peel the apples and slice into eighths, then cut each eighth into ¼ inch slices. Place the apples into a large bowl – a small bowl makes it much harder to get them evenly coated with cinnamon sugar.

Toss the apples with the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until they are evenly coated. Set aside.

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For the streusel, you’ll need old-fashioned oats, not quick/instant (don’t try it with steel cut either!) They’re sometimes labelled as “Large Flake” oats. Dark brown sugar adds a great depth of flavour, but regular brown sugar works fine if that’s what you have on hand. Whisk together the oats, sugar, cinnamon and flour.

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Add the butter and cut it in with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

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Take the shortbread crust out of the oven after 15 minutes, or when it’s very lightly browned. Set on a rack to cool slightly and turn the oven up to 350°. I can usually get the apples done and the streusel started while the crust is baking, but you’ll probably need a few minutes to finish the streusel after the crust is done.

Place the apples in an even layer on top of the crust.

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Sprinkle the streusel on top of the apples, making sure to cover the surface evenly.

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Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes, until the streusel is golden brown. Let the squares cool at room temperature for 20 minutes or so, then refrigerate for 2 hours or until cooled completely.

Lift up the edges of the foil to lift the squares out of the pan onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or bars of desired size. I cut mine into 16 squares, which is a nice size for a plated dessert. I usually cut smaller pieces if I’m putting them on a dessert tray, so people can sample a few options!

Keep the bars refrigerated in an air-tight container. They’ll last about 3 days before starting to get soggy.

The Bluenose Baker's Apple Streusel Bars

What are you baking or cooking for Mother’s Day this year? Do you have any recipes that remind you of your mom? (or your dad!) Let me know in the comments!

Apple Streusel Bars

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Time: Prep: 40 min, Bake: 35 min, Chill: 2 hours
  • Print

Adapted from the Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook

Ingredients:

Shortbread Crust:

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Apple Filling:

  • 2 large apples (Granny Smith or another tart variety), peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg

Streusel Topping:

  • ½ cup “old-fashioned” or “large flake” oats
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cold butter, cubed

Directions:

Shortbread Crust:

Preheat the oven to 300° and line an 8 x 8 inch pan with foil.

Melt ½ cup of butter in a medium bowl. Stir in sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and stir until it’s all incorporated.

Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the foil-lined pan.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until very lightly browned.

Apple Filling:

Peel the apples and slice into eighths, then cut each eighth into ¼ inch slices. Place the apples into a large bowl.

Toss the apples with the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until they are evenly coated. Set aside.

Streusel:

Whisk together the oats, sugar, cinnamon and flour. Add the butter and cut it in with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

Squares:

Take the shortbread crust out of the oven after 15 minutes, or when it’s very lightly browned. Set on a rack to cool slightly and turn the oven up to 350°.

Place the apples in an even layer on top of the crust. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the apples, making sure to cover the surface evenly.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes, until the streusel is golden brown. Let the squares cool at room temperature for 20 minutes or so, then refrigerate for 2 hours or until cooled completely.

Lift up the edges of the foil to lift the squares out of the pan onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or bars of desired size.

The bars will keep up to 3 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

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9 thoughts on “Apple Streusel Bars

    • bluenosebaker says:

      You could certainly try eating them warm out of the oven, but they’d probably be really difficult to cut neatly. The chilling really helps to hold their shape. If you want them warm, just zap in the microwave for a few seconds before serving. I like them both cold or warm!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. CakePants says:

    These bars look fantastic! I love apple crisp, so I’m sure I’ll love these bars as well. Unfortunately my mom will be 2000 miles away this Mother’s Day, but in the past I made things like strawberry pancakes or peanut butter chocolate cupcakes for her on Mother’s Day.

    Like

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