Sometimes I feel like a hermit during Scottish winters. There is NO sunshine and I end up eating root vegetables and staying in. So I am excited about barbeques and baking with more colorful seasonal items. Spring is finally coming and I love baking crumbles and fruit tarts for the season!
To get my juices flowing I decided to try Ina Garten's Apple Pie Bars! I wasn't expecting them to be crazy amazing. After one bite I knew I should share them with you guys on the blog. The best part is they take like 15 minutes to put together. So for all you non-super bakers out there, this is perfect. Here we go!
FOR THE CRUST
- 1 cup (227 grams) butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
FOR THE FILLING
- 4 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 375F (190C) degrees. Prepare a non-stick 8x8 square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper cut 8 inches wide but long enough to hang over two edges of the pan. This will make removing the bars from the pan very easy!
- For the crust, use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, place butter, sugars and vanilla in the bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until lightened in color and creamy. Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and walnuts and slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, with the mixer on low speed. Beat until just combined. Scatter two-thirds of the dough into the prepared baking pan and press down lightly so that it covers the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides. Reserve the remaining 1/3 dough for topping. Refrigerate pan for 20 minutes and then remove from fridge and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- While crust refrigeration and cooking are happening, prepare the filling. Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot and then add the apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes. The apples will be tender and most of the liquid will have evaporated. Add the cornstarch in the last minute of cooking and stir until thickened. Remove apples from heat and spread evenly over the baked crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
- Smush pieces of the remaining dough with your fingers and scatter evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered completely). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool, lift out of pan using parchment handles and cut into bars.