I gotta tell you- these apple crumb bars have been one of the most rewarding parts of my week. Before you think I’m entirely lame, let me just explain.
You ever go through one of those ruts where you feel out of sorts? Days when it seems like you’re out of step and nothing is working out the way you planned? This is me, as of late, in the kitchen. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks testing recipes and attempting to stock up goodies to share with you all in the coming months. With other big work projects just around the corner, I knew I would need to use this time to ready myself and this site for the days to come. Unfortunately, it’s just not happening. Everything I’ve been making has left me wanting, and, honestly, it just gets to be a bummer. There’s only so many failed loaves of bread and crumbly cookies you can shrug at before you never want to see a bag of flour again, okay?
So when these apple crumb bars turned out to be straight-up BOMB, I was thrilled. It’s amazing how a single victory, albeit small, can give you a little extra kick in your step, you know? These apple crumb bars, with their buttery shortbread crust, spiced and slightly tart apple filling, and crumbly brown sugar and oat topping, are seriously textured, rich, and altogether wonderful- just the kind of treat you want to make this time of year. They were such a knock-out in my kitchen, I’m sure you’re going to love them too. Let me tell you how to make them.
To make these apple crumb bars, we start with the shortbread crust. Butter, sugar, and just enough flour come together to make a crumbly, doughy mixture that gets pat into an 8″ square pan. The crust gets baked briefly while we prep the filling. Here, sliced baking apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon add moisture, tang, and just enough spice, while the oat crumble adds texture and richness. Both get spread onto the semi-baked shortbread before being popped back into the oven for a second bake. Once the topping is golden brown, the bars are done and ready to cool.
These apple crumb bars make for an excellent sharing dessert and can even be made ahead and frozen! Just be sure to pop them back in the oven to crisp up the crumble and crust again. Give them a try and let me know what you think. If you happen to find yourself in a baking rut, these apple crumb bars are the simple and rewarding dish you need in your life. Happy Baking!
If you like these apple crumb bars you should try:Print
Apple Crumb Bars
With a buttery shortbread crust and a brown sugar oat crumble, these apple crumb bars are the layered fall treat you’ve been waiting for!
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 16 1x
- Category: Dessert
For the shortbread crust:
- ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1–1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 4 cups of peeled, cored, and sliced baking apples (I used granny smith)
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
For the topping:
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
To prepare the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 “square baking pan with foil. Lightly grease with cooking spray and set aside.
- Begin by preparing the crust. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and stir just until combined to crumbs. Gently press the mixture down flat into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. In the meantime, begin making the filling.
To prepare the bars:
- Toss all of the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, toss all the flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt together. Stir in the butter to form a clumpy mixture and set aside. When the shortbread crust has finished baking, remove from oven and evenly layer in the apple filling. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples and bake an additional 35 minutes, or until the topping is turning golden brown. Allow to cool completely prior to cutting into 16 squares.
- These apple crumb bars make for an excellent sharing dessert and can even be made ahead and frozen! Just be sure to pop them back in the oven to crisp up the crumble and crust again.