Fewer things in life are better than classic apple pie. There’s just something so simple yet absolutely intoxicating about fresh apples combined with cinnamon, brown sugar and perhaps a dash of nutmeg or allspice.
My favorite apple pie is a Dutch apple pie. I have a deep love for streusel topping so the Dutch apple pie definitely scratches that itch for me. But a Dutch apple pie is like combining apple pie with apple crisp, like the baby these two great desserts. I also really love not having to fuss with a double crust pie so streusel topping totally takes the top crust out of the equation.
Sadly, apple pie isn’t exactly the most portable food. I cannot take my apple pie slice with me and eat it while I’m driving, and eating apple pie with my hands seems to be socially frowned upon. Or at least looked at as quite odd. But now converting a classic apple pie into these super tasty apple crisp bars solves both these issues that have plagued apple pie lovers.
Ginger apple upside down squares and a host of other apple bar type recipes have been made in my kitchen in the past, but none of them really channeled their inner apple pie. While being crazy good, they were just bar desserts that happened to contain apples. That’s where these apple crisp bars come in. For their creation I turned to my favorite Dutch apple pie recipe.
A buttery shortbread crust is topped with thinly sliced sweet apples kissed with warm spices that are sprinkled with a streusel topping filled with hearty oats, brown sugar, chopped walnuts and cinnamon.
This is sure to elicit the same delicious memories of apple pies past. Viola! You can eat your apple pie on the go and there’s no fork required.
Desire the use of a utensil to eat these lovely bars? The perfect finishing touch to this apple crisp bars recipe would be a simple scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream. Apple crisp bars a la mode definitely sounds like the way to go!
Or perhaps a drizzle of salted caramel sauce over the top? Instantly your traditional apple pie is transformed into a caramel apple pie. Salty and sweet together are always a crowd pleaser. No matter how you choose to enjoy these apple crisp bars, you’re going to absolutely love them.
For the Crust:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling:
- 3 large gala apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
For the Streusel:
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper, leaving extra hanging over the ends, spray paper and sides of dish with cooking spray containing flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and 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 cool on a wire rack while preparing apples and topping. Maintain oven temperature.
- Evenly layer sliced apples over pre-baked crust. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Sprinkle evenly over apples.
- In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Add butter and cut with a pastry cutter or form until mixture forms pea-sized crumbs.
- Sprinkle streusel evenly over apple filling.
- Bake bars at 350°F for 25 minutes, or until streusel is golden and apples are softened.
- Cool bars completely on a wire cooling rack. Cut into squares and serve.