Sunday, October 21, 2012

Awesome Apple Bars

This recipe started with my mom's friend, and they've been a family favorite for years now.  I've made a couple slight changes to them (mostly because I have a serious compulsion to not follow any recipe I try).  They are a real crowd-pleaser and sturdy enough to pack up and bring places, such as the sides of sports fields to feed hungry post-game players.  Or serve them hot with a little whipped cream or ice cream.

What you need:

Crust Ingredients:
1 cup chilled butter, cut into 1/2 slices
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt

Filling Ingredients:
3 cups peeled and chopped apple (I used 5 small/medium ones)
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons EACH butterscotch liqueur or creme de cacao (or just use vanilla if that's what you have)

Glaze Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2-4 tablespoons milk 

Start by making the crust:
Measure the flour, powdered sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl.  Cut the butter in using a pastry blender until it is evenly distributed and the mixture is crumbly with chunks no bigger than small peas.  Or, if you don't have a pastry blender, use forks or even your hands.  Chill the mixture for 10 minutes in the freezer (and maybe work cutting up those apples while you are doing this).  Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Press crust into two 8x8/ 9x9 pans or one 13x9 pan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until VERY lightly browned.

To make the filling:

Mix all of the filling ingredients together.  Plop evenly on top of the warm crusts.  Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and apples are cooked through.  If it is getting too brown at any point, cover with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.  

Mix together glaze ingredients, adding enough milk to make a thick, but completely mixed, glaze.  Pour on top of hot apple bars. 

Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into if you want to have presentable looking bars.  Or just dive in and get 'em while they're hot.  They may slop over a bit, but they'll still be delicious.  I made 32 small-ish bars out of this.  Enjoy!

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