Apple Crisp is Mike’s favorite dessert. I worked on perfecting a recipe just for him (heavy on the brown sugar) and then thought we also needed to try making apple crisp in bar form. Because it’s important to come up with a variety of ways for your man to consume his favorite dessert. And of course, these too needed to include more brown sugar.
These bars are sweet and delicious and perfect for these chilly fall days. And your house will smell amazing when making it…even if you’re not a fan of apple desserts, it’s worth it just for the heavenly aroma.
I made these a few month backs for the Summer Picnic we styled and photographed for 585 Magazine – they make a perfect picnic treat as you can eat them without needing a plate or fork…and they can even be wrapped nicely too!
Apple Crisp Bars with Brown Sugar Shortbread Crust
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups AP flour
Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a 9×13 pan with foil, leaving extra hanging over the ends, spray with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light & fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla, mix until combined. Add flour and mix until combined and dough is crumbly. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until dough is slightly puffed. Remove from oven and set aside, maintain oven temperature.
While crust is baking prepare the apples & topping.
8 cups apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
¼ cup flour
½ cup sugar
In a large bowl, combine apples, flour and sugar. Mix until apples are thoroughly coated. Arrange apples on baked crust.
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
In a medium bowl, mix together first five ingredients. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Spread topping over apples in an even layer.
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until topping is golden and apple mixture is bubbly. Let cool, lift apple crisp using the extra foil at the ends as handles, and cut into bars.
Tips for baking apple desserts:
- use a variety of apples, not just one kind – I like to include at least one Granny Smith when baking apple desserts
- if possible, use apples that are slightly soft – they cook faster so you can be sure that your apples are cooked through and you won’t get crunchy apples in your dessert (deal-breaker in my book!)
- make sure to slice your apples thin – this will also help to make sure your apples are cooked through