Spiced Cider Glazed Apple Bars ~ these buttery shortbread crumble bars are stuffed with juicy SweeTango apples and drizzled with an outrageous spiced cider glaze!
*This post is is sponsored by SweeTango®, and as you know, I greatly appreciate your support of my brand partners — I only work with companies that I love, and they help keep TVFGI up and cooking!
Have you tried a SweeTango apple? I bet you’ve seen them around, they burst onto the scene in 2009 when some smart growers in Minnesota married a Honeycrisp to a Zestar apple. (Honeycrisp was the bride, and Zestar the groom … seriously!) The resulting SweeTango apple is unique and wonderful, and has become famous for its shatteringly crisp texture and honey-like flavor.
I’ve used SweeTangos before on the blog, they star in my BAKED BRIE WITH APPLES, PECANS AND MAPLE SYRUP, and they’re also the ones I chose for my yummy BAKED BREAKFAST APPLES. Today I’m baking them up in old fashioned apple bars ~ but these bars stand out from the rest, not only because they’re made with crisp Sweetango apples, but because I’ve drizzled them with a spiced cider glaze that puts them right over the top. They’re a must make for fall!
I don’t know about you, but I like my apples to be super firm and crisp, but not super tart. Sweetango apples strike the perfect balance for me.
Guinness World Records states that a crunch from eating a SweeTango is 79.1 decibels, which is about as loud as an alarm clock!
SweeTango apples actually have larger cells than regular apples, and those cells burst with juice when you bite into one. But they’re not only great for eating out of hand, I love to bake with them because they retain a little bit of that juicy crunch even after they come out of the oven.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve adapted my favorite shortbread crumble bar recipes, but it’s a LOT. The shortbread dough is just perfect, and adapts to all kinds of new flavors. Each time it’s like I’ve never tasted anything so good in my life 🙂
I highly recommend you make a batch of these bars asap. They will work for breakfast, coffee break, brunch, or dessert, and they’re wonderful warm from the oven, all by themselves…
but the glaze makes them absolutely sensational. The hint of spices and the twang from the cider is unusual and out of this world. The next time you’re tempted to make an apple pie, try these instead!
Like all the best produce, SweeTango apples are seasonal. You’ll find them in stores in the fall, and by December they’re gone. Their short season makes the enjoyment all that much sweeter. Grab some soon to make these wonderful Spiced Cider Glazed Apple Pie Bars.
Try my other shortbread bars, I’ve experimented with this family recipe repeatedly over the years and have never been disappointed. Here’re some of my faves:
- SPICED PEAR CRUMBLE BARS ~ another recipe perfect for the fall season.
- CRANBERRY WALNUT SHORTBREAD BARS ~use fresh or frozen cranberries.
- BLOOD ORANGE CRUMB BARS ~ I look forward to citrus season every year so I can make these!
Cider Glazed Apple Pie Bars
- 2 large Sweetango apples
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 heaping Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup oat flour, substitute regular flour if you like
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup rolled oats, quick cooking or regular
- 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
- cider to thin the sugar, approximately 3 Tbsp
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch nutmeg
- Set oven to 350F
- Spray a 9x9 baking pan and line with parchment paper. This step is optional, but helps to lift out the bars for easy cutting.
- Peel and core the apples, then chop them into 1/2 inch pieces. Put them in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract.
- Blend in the flours, and mix just until completely combined, don't over beat. Note: do not add the rolled oats at this time.
- Take 2/3 of the dough and press it into the bottom of your prepared pan. I like to crumble it over the surface first to distribute it, and then lightly press it down with floured fingers. Make sure it covers the entire surface, and add a bit more of the dough if necessary.
- Top the crust with the chopped apples. Arrange evenly across the surface.
- Mix the oats into the remaining dough with your fingers, and then crumble it over the top of the apples. Use your fingers to break apart the dough into smaller crumbles. It's ok if some of the apples show through.
- Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the crust is just beginning to turn golden and you can hear the fruit bubbling.
- Let cool on a rack completely before glazing.
- To make the glaze, mix the sugar and spices with just enough cider to make a drizzle-able glaze. Start with 2 tablespoons and go from there. Drizzle liberally over the bars.
Make it you own ~
- You can use whole wheat, or part whole wheat and part white flour.
- This recipe lends itself to a gluten free version, use a combination of almond and oat flours.
- Leave the peel on the apples if you like, they’ll add nice color and flavor.
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Questions and Reviews
So far I haven’t been able to find Sweetango apples. Do you have any suggestions on other varieties of apples that will give similar results? Thanks much.
I think you should feel free to experiment, it’s not that critical what apple you use. I’ve been loving Honeycrisp lately, but Granny Smith’s would be good too. I would steer away from Red and Golden Delicious, they’re a little mealy for baking.
This recipe is genius! I made and shared with a few people who also immediately loved them! So much better (tastier and easier) than a regular pie crust and that glaze is extra special! I was able to use a variety of apples since New Hampshire apple season is upon us. They all worked well. Thanks so much for sharing!
I’m so happy you liked these Anita, we really did too 🙂 I just picked all kinds of apples while visiting in Wisconsin this weekend, so I’ll have to make another batch!
OMG…..these look SOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOD! That crumble topping and drizzle….YUMMY!
I’m swooning over these bars… that glaze is everything!
Ah, I really wish there were more variety of apples here, it’s like the four usual apple suspects every day of the year. Those Sweetango apples sound so delicious, and these apple bars look like the perfect morning coffee snack!
I JUST saw these at the store and was wondering about them! Now I know I need to try them next time! Love these bars!
My kids would LOVE this – bookmarking!
I love a good crunch when I bite into an apple so I need to get my hands on these SweeTango apples! They sound amazing and this dish is a must try!
I have a feeling these will be your new faves, Vicky 🙂
We love these apples in my house! My kids devour them. I bet they work perfectly in this bars.
This looks super yummy!!!!