This is a “wow” dessert recipe. Actually, it’s a double wow! And frankly, it ought to be because I’ll tell you right now- these Apple Pie bars require a notable amount of time to make, and a decent amount of love, but the pay off is big in the end because they are simply awesome!
The first time I made these amazing bites of deliciousness, I individually wrapped a few and dropped them off to a few friends for them to try and give me feedback. One friend came back and said “The only feedback I have for you is MAKE MORE!”
It all starts with a savory shortbread crust. I don’t care what anyone says, no one can resist a buttery, soft, salty shortbread anything. The shortbread crust is then topped with perfectly sliced tart apples and then finished with a delicious crumble. The layers of savory, salty, tart, and sweet guarantee a truly exceptional apple dessert.
I am not going to lie to you! It takes a couple of hours to assemble these Apple Pie bars, but you get 9 large or 12 small portions and they will stay good for a day or two, but no more. (They would never last longer than that anyway- you’ll want to eat the entire batch.) My recommendation is to make sure you buy all your ingredients the day or two before so you have everything on hand for when you decide to get started. Then, pick out a great album and put that apron on- you’re going to be here for a while. But I promise you, it will be worth it!
- 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (about 3 large)
- 1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (about 3 large)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
For the crust, place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined. Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the walnuts and cinnamon, and mix on low speed to combine. Set aside.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
For the filling, combine the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Melt the butter in a large (10-inch-diameter) pot, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
Pinch medium pieces of the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool completely and cut into bars.