Apple Crumb Bars are an all season treat filled with layers of juicy fruit sandwiched between a light cake base and a buttery crumble topping. They bake up a little bit different every time, depending on the apples you choose. These apple bars are a joy!
Apple crumb bars never go out of season
As a food blogger who slavishly follows the seasons in my recipe development, it’s refreshing now and then to make something utterly timeless, like these apple bars. It’s an any time, any season recipe. You’ll never have to wonder if you can find all the ingredients, you probably have them already. These bars follow in the Great Island tradition of simple, homey, wholesome sweets that so often will work as breakfast or dessert. Coffee is a plus in either case 🙂
What you’ll need:
- about 3 good sized apples, I use Honeycrisp
- rolled oats
- ground walnuts ~ you can leave these out or substitute pecans, or even hazelnuts
- buttermilk ~ substitute milk or cream
- lemon juice
- baking powder, salt, cardamom, cinnamon
- powdered sugar
The best apples for apple bars
- I’m a recent convert to Honeycrisp apples for baking. I love the way they bake up sweet and juicy while still retaining their shape. They still have a hint of crunch in these bars, which makes a lovely textural contrast.
- Honeycrisp apples are yellow and red streaked, with little speckles. The fruit is extra sweet with lots of acidity, and the crunch is legendary.
- Honeycrisps are pretty well represented in all states now, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding them.
- Good old Granny Smith’s are a good substitute.
there are no bad apples
Contrary to what you might have heard, most apples are fine for baking. Most of them will yield deliciously varied results in terms of flavor and texture, and there are really only a few varieties to avoid when baking:
- Macintosh ~ their texture is too soft and they don’t hold up in baked goods.
- Fuji ~ they have a tendency to become mealy when baked.
- Red Delicious ~ they’re lacking in flavor.
what can I bring?
When you have this gem of a recipe in your back pocket you’ll never have to wonder what to bring, these apple streusel bars are always right. They can work in a coffee break setting, or they can be dressed up for dessert. People love them any old way.
To make them the day before: let them cool completely and cover loosely on the counter. Give them a fresh shower of powdered sugar before serving, if necessary.
let’s hear it for apples!
- Apple Pie Scones
- Apple Butter Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream
- Rustic Apple Galette
- Caramel Apple Sheet Cake
- Dutch Apple Cake
- Irish Apple Cake
Apple Crumb Bars
- 9x9 baking pan
- 3/4 cup ( 96 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
- 6 Tbsp (85 grams) unsalted cold butter, cut in small pieces
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts (pulse in a food processor)
- 3 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and thinly sliced, this will be under a pound after slicing
- lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) milk or cream
- 1 1/4 cups (178 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- confectioner's sugar for dusting the finished bars
- Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray a 9x9 baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, if you like.
- Put the streusel ingredients in a small bowl and blend everything together with your fingertips until there is no more raw flour.
- Make sure to break down any large clumps of butter so there is a somewhat uniform crumbly texture. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Toss the apple slices with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture, along with the milk or cream.
- Spoon the batter in to the pan, and smooth out evenly.
- Top with the sliced apples. There's no need to arrange them precisely, but try to get them in an even layer.
- Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Lay a loose layer of foil over the top if the crumble is browning too quickly.
- Let cool a bit in the pan before removing the sides. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.