I baked Ina Garten’s Apple Pie Bars on Sunday afternoon and it’s safe to say that it’s the best baking recipe that I’ve tried in a long time. Ina + Apple Pie = two things you just can’t go wrong with.
I inadvertently messed up on the recipe but I think that made the bars even better. Also, I was heavy handed with the spices, changed the type of apples and added more apples than called for so I decided to share my take on the recipe with you.
I personally think these bars are JUST as good as a big slice of apple pie, if not better. They’re definitely easier than apple pie due to the ease of making the pastry crust. (I don’t agree with that whole “easy as apple pie” quote when it comes to making pie crust.) The pastry crust here is made in a mixer and then pressed into the bottom of a parchment paper-lined pan. You reserve about a third of it for sprinkling on top. No rolling or cutting required and it tastes incredible. So buttery and delicious with just the right balance of sweetness.
The apple pie bars are also extremely easy to lift out of the pan thanks to the parchment paper and the pastry crust holds up well to being sliced into squares and doesn’t crumble.
Speaking of sweetness, these apple pie bars aren’t hurt your teeth sweet. There’s no denying that they’re heavy on the butter and have their fair share of sugar but it all seems just right for a perfect homemade dessert.
I can confidently say that these bars are great on their own but you’re in for a treat if you serve them warm with a scoop of ice cream.Print
Ina Garten’s Apple Pie Bars – EASIER than apple pie!
FOR THE CRUST
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted 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
- 3 lbs apples or about 4 medium apples (gala, braeburn, golden delicious, pink lady, etc), 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 375 degrees. Prepare a non-stick 8×8 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, using 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 flour, kosher 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 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 is 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.
Keywords: apple, fall, baking, apple pie
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