APPLE PIE BARS
Apple pie bars are a twist on the old favorite! Two layers of delicious, buttery crust stuffed with aromatic and flavorfully baked apple pieces. Top these apple pie bars with my delicious icing or serve them with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Or maybe that was just a decoy so that I could grab another piece.
I’m in my happy place, can you tell? Millions of endorphins are running amuck in my brain. Who doesn’t love a good sugar high?
These bars with the buttery crust topped with cinnamon and vanilla spiced apple chunks covered with another layer of crust(!!) and drizzled with a slightly sweet and tangy icing that complements the apples ohhh, so well. This so distractingly good!
Let’s get started!
We’re starting with the crust. A little butter, flour, sugar, salt, an egg yolk, and some buttermilk. Nothing makes good dessert like buttermilk. I especially love the shaggy, flakey texture of a crust that comes from using buttermilk.
Make sure to use cold butter that’s been cut into cubes for this recipe.
Add the egg and buttermilk to the flour mixture and using a spoon, mix until the dough comes together. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or just wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
You can prepare the apple pie filling while the dough is cooling.
Cut the dough in half. Roll out the dough into 14 x 10 rectangle. This will fit a 13 x 9 baking pan. I like to roll the dough out on a floured surface, then fold the dough very loosely over a rolling pin and transfer it to the baking pan and gently press it in place. Alternately, you can fold the dough and then fold it again and gently transfer it into the baking pan.
Dump and evenly spread the apple mixture all over the bottom layer of crust. If you’ve got excess liquid pooling in your apple mixture, just place the apples over the pie crust. Spoon a few tablespoon of liquid but be careful not to put too much as this will cause the bottom crust to get kind of soggy. That’s no bueno!
I stole a few apple pieces before dumping them in, I encourage you to do the same. They taste amaze-balls!
Repeat the rolling of the crust and lay the layer over the apples. Gently press the edges. Brush on the egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon and turbinado sugar on top. Let the apple pie bars bake for 50 – 60 minutes. It WILL be the longest hour of your life! The smell of these babies will torture you.
Let the apple pie bars cool for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. If you cut into them at room temperature they won’t really hold their shape. I suggest letting them cool in the refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes. That way, they cut into perfect little squares.
Prepare the icing while the apple pie bars are cooling in the refrigerator.
And that’s it! Serve them up with a little or a lot of icing drizzled on top of them. Or skip the icing and warm them for a few seconds in the microwave before serving with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can never go wrong with ice cream!
Buttery, flaky crust, sweetly-tart apples along with that icing, they’ll have you going back for seconds. But who’s complaining?
I for one am definitely not!
* Note – It will seem like there are a lot of ingredients involved when you look at the recipe card in a glance. Please keep in mind some of the ingredients are required for more than one portion, i’ve listed each quantity separately!
For the apple pie crust:
- 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour + more for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) salted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup (2-3 ounces) buttermilk
For the apple pie filling:
- 2 1/4 lb. (6 medium) apples (I used 4 granny smiths + 2 pink ladies)
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Brush top of pie bars with:
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
- 1 tablespoon milk (+ 1 teaspoon if took thick for your taste)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crust:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour using a fork or a pastry cutter. The butter should breakdown to the point where it resembles oat flakes and some may be the size of peas. Add the buttermilk and egg yolk to the mixture until the dough starts to form a ball. Dump the dough out onto a clean surface and form a ball. Place dough in plastic wrap and tightly wrap the dough. Alternately, you can place the dough back into the bowl and cover, refrigerate. Let dough cool for at least 30 minutes. Prepare apple pie filling while you wait.
For the apple pie filling:
- Peel, core and dice apples into small, thin pieces. Place apples in a large bowl. Add orange juice, vanilla bean paste, and toss apples to evenly coat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour flour mixture over apple mixture and toss to evenly coat, set aside.
To assemble the pie bars:
- Place a rack near the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 14 x 10 rectangle. Fold the dough over the rolling pin gently and transfer to a 13 x 9 baking pan. Toss the apple mixture and then pour it over the top of the prepared pie crust. If you've got access liquid pooling at the bottom, save the liquid, just pour the apples. Using a tablespoon, pour 2-3 tablespoons of the liquid over the apples. Roll the remaining dough into the same 14 x10 rectangle as before and transfer the dough over to the baking dish. Cover the apples and pinch the corners. Using a small pairing knife, prick small holes on the top crust.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk egg white until foamy, brush egg white over top pie crust. In another small mixing bowl whisk together turbinado sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the top of pie crust.
- Let the apple pie bars bake for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. The bars are ready to serve after 30 minutes but they won't hold their shape. If you want perfect bars, place the baking pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Slice once cooled (see note). Prepare the icing while they cool.
For the icing:
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. If the icing is thick and doesn't drip with a spoon, add the 1 teaspoon milk. Keep in mind if it's too thin it won't harden properly on the bars.
- Drizzle icing over the apple pie bars.
- Once the bars are cooled at room temperature, they can be served. The apple filling is still too hot to slice into perfect shapes. Cooling in the refrigerator allows the bars to be cut more neatly.
- Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Classy and the rest of the internet.