These bars taste just like your Grandma’s best apple crumble recipe! An oat-brown sugar cookie crust, soft-baked cinnamon apples, and a crisp cinnamon sugar streusel!
I woke up this morning to a certain chill in the air. A chill that reminded me of yellow aspen leaves and cider stalls . . . apple picking and pumpkin fests.
How is it possible for a season to so affect my soul? As soon as Fall arrives, my spirit lifts, life seems more full, and suddenly I find the time to celebrate everything of the season.
And baking. Baking in the fall is the same as baking in the winter or the spring or the summer. But somehow it’s not. Fall baking is this magical world of cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg. And it is a cozy, comfy world filled with snuggly sweaters and warm blankets. And pumpkins with personalities ranging from happy to frightening.
Tell me how I live in this world forever?
Apple Crumble Bar Hints
This recipe uses cornstarch to absorb moisture released by the apples when they are baking. Other methods include cooking down the fruit ahead of time by simmering the fruit before adding it to a baked good. Any time you consider swapping out a fruit in a baked recipe, it is worth comparing the water content of the two fruits. For example, tart apples, as used in this recipe for apple bars, are about 85% water by weight. If I was considering swapping for an equal weight of raspberries (85% water) or pears (84% water), then I’d likely be able to since the same amount of water will be released and I’ll need the same amount of cornstarch to thicken the fruit. But if I was considering swapping for an equal weight of strawberries (92% water), then I will probably need slightly more fruit and more cornstarch to replace and absorb the excess moisture released during baking.
A crumble is usually used to refer to a streusel-like mixture of butter, flour, and sugar. A crisp was typically used to refer to a similar topping that also had oats. The distinction has waned over time and has never actually made sense to me since a streusel is also “crisp” like an oat topping. These bars have a crumble crust and a streusel (crisp) topping. So this recipe could be called apple crumble bars or apple crisp bars!
If you’re thinking of converting a bar recipe, just consider the area of the pan you’re using when deciding whether you need to make a 1/3 batch, 1/2 batch, etc. So this recipe for apple crumble bars uses a 9″x13″ pan, which has 117 square inches. If I only wanted to make an 8″x8″ pan, which has 64 square inches, then I would need to halve the recipe. (Noting that, because the pan has just slightly more than half the area, a half recipe of bars will be spread just a tad more thinly.) I have halved this recipe many times for an 8″x8″ pan and it just means that the crust, apple layer, and streusel are slightly thinner/shorter layers.
If you make these Apple Crumble Bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! I love looking through the photos of recipes you all have made!
mikaela | wyldflour
20 minPrep Time
1 hrCook Time
1 hr, 20 Total Time
- 1 cup salted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups rolled or old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, loosely packed
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 cups peeled, cored tart apples (e.g., Granny Smith or Pippin) (~8 small apples)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Prepare the apples and the pecans. Peel, core, and slice the apples about 1/4" thick. Then dice the slices into small squares. Pour the 3 tablespoons lemon juice over the apples in a separate bowl and set aside. Finely chop pecans and set aside.
- Prepare the baking dish! Lightly grease a 9"x13" baking dish with butter and then line with parchment paper. (This will make it much easier to remove the bars and slice them.) Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare the crumble crust! In a medium-sized mixing bowl, melt the 1 cup butter. Add the remaining crust ingredients and stir together until the mixture starts to clump and crumble and all ingredients are moistened. Dump the crumble into the prepared baking dish and press tightly into a crust evenly across the bottom. Set aside.
- Prepare the apple filling! In the same, now-empty mixing bowl, toss the lemon apples with the remaining filling ingredients--brown sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Spoon the apples over the crumble crust and spread them evenly.
- Prepare the crumble topping! In the same, now-empty mixing bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter. Stir in the remaining crumble topping ingredients--flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pecans. Use a fork to toss them together until it starts to clump and all ingredients are moistened. If you have any huge chunks use a fork to stab at them and make the streusel, but in general, you'll have crumbs of varying sizes. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the apple filling layer.
- Bake the bars for 50-60 minutes until the streusel starts to brown and you can smell the apples. Remove from the oven and let the entire dish cool on a rack for one hour. Cut and serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream or chill in the refrigerator!
- Store completely cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These reheat very well!
For large bars, cut the crumble into 3 x 5 squares. For smaller bars, cut the crumble into 4 x 6 squares.
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