THE DELICIOUS TASTE OF APPLE PIE WITHOUT FUSS
Apple pie is one of my all-time favourite desserts that my mum used to make when I was a little boy. Now that I’m in charge of the kitchen when I’m in the mood for apple pie I whip up a pan of these snack-size British Cinnamon Apple Pie Bars which are perfect on the run or packed in a lunch.
Don’t get me wrong I love a nice slice of apple pie but I don’t always have the time to roll out the dough to make pie crust which is why I decided to experiment with apple pie bars instead. You get the same classic Apple Pie taste but in squares that you can carry along with you. Try putting a slice of apple pie in your hand and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
You can clearly see by the photo how lovely these apple pie bars turn out but the key is to wait until they are cooled completely before you cut into them.
Before I add the top layer on the apple pie bars I bake the shortbread layer topped with the apples for about 10 minutes and then add the final topping.
The reason I do this is so the apples have a bit of time to cook down without the crust on the top. This way you know the apples have cooked through properly and you don’t end up with raw apples and a cooked pie topping.
A couple of weeks back we picked up two big bags of apples from the reduced rack at Walmart for a buck each and now it’s time to use the last of them up for these apple pie bars.
It amazes me how much the price differs when apples are in season but Autumn is the best time to be baking anything apple-related.
These apple pie bars have a mix of Yellow and Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples. The delicious apples tend to keep their shape which you can see in the various layers of the apple pie bars. I went with half sweet and half tart apples to give the apple pie filling a balanced flavour and texture. You could even use McIntosh, Honey Crisp, Russet, Spartan, Cortland or Crispin apples all which are perfect for pie making.
Related: Apple Varieties in Ontario, Canada
How to make British Cinnamon Apple Pie Bars
This makes a large deep pan of cinnamon apple pie bars. For this apple pie bars recipe you want to alter the amount of sugar you use because you might want a more tart apple pie filling you can do so at your convenience. If you want to half the recipe you can also do that and use a smaller baking pan 8×8 and cut down the baking times.
- 10x10 deep baking pan
- Classic British Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup softened butter
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- Cinnamon Apple Pie Filling
- 8 apples peeled, cored and sliced thin-med to equal about 8 cups of apples
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 drops of pure cinnamon oil (optional)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup chilled butter cut into ½ inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Line a 10x10 deep baking pan with parchment paper so it hangs over the sides which makes it easier to pull out the bars and cut into squares. Put a layer of cooking spray on the parchment paper to help the bars from sticking.
- Shortbread Base
- In a large mixing bowl add softened butter, vanilla and sugar and blend in your stand-mixer or with a hand-mixer until fluffy. Add your flour little by little until it resembles a crumbly mixture.
- Press the shortbread base into the bottom of your parchment lined baking pan making sure to reach all the corners. Pat the top so it's nice and even and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Don't over-bake it. You will see the shortbread rise as a cookie would. Remove from oven to cool while you make the apple pie filling. Leave oven at 350 degrees.
- Cinnamon Apple Pie Filling
- In a large bowl add your sliced apples, flours, sugar, cinnamon, cinnamon oil, cloves and nutmeg. Mix with your hands until the apples are coated
- Arrange the apples evenly on top of the shortbread crust and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl mix together your brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon and salt. using a pastry cutter or two butter knives cut in the ½ inch cold butter cubes until it resembles large peas.
- Spread the topping evenly over the apples and press down slightly
- Put back in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until golden brown
- Remove from oven and let sit until completely cooled. Do not cut them before they are cooled.
- Once cool with the parchment paper handles lift the apple pie bars from the pan onto a cutting board.
- Using a sharp knife cut into 12 large cinnamon apple pie bars or 24 snack-size bars.
- Store in the refrigerator up to a week and in the freezer for 4 months in an air-tight container.
These simple apple pie bars are always a hit when I make them and bring them to work. I don’t often give out my mums famous recipe but since I’ve altered it with the addition of extra flavours and my homemade shortbread base I’ll let you in on my secret recipe.
I hope you enjoy these cinnamon apple pie bars as much we do. If you serve on a plate for dessert you can add a scoop of salted caramel ice-cream, vanilla ice-cream and make homemade salted caramel sauce to drizzle over. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Please share this recipe with your friends if you think they might like it and please leave a review and tell me what you think. You can also pin the recipe on Pinterest and share on just about every social media outlet. Big Thanks.
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