If you love apple pie, wait until you try Apple Crumb Bars. Start with a buttery shortbread crust that is covered with both caramelized apples. A crumb topping makes them easy enough to eat with your hands and just as scrumptious as an apple pie.
Feeding a crowd? A pan of apple crumb bars is a perfect solution, and no forks required!🍎
Walnuts are added to part of the shortbread which is then sprinkled over caramelized apples. The texture and flavor from the walnuts add a richness to this dessert bar that you won’t get in a traditional pie.
The shortbread on the top and bottom keep the filling intact so that you can eat this apple dessert with your fingers. By caramelizing the apples first, the juices are concentrated along with a little apple brandy which enhances the apple flavor even more.
This is a fantastic apple dessert recipe to take to a potluck, or to serve at a party. You can cut the squares even smaller so that people can try more than one dessert. A pan will give you 24-32 bars.
Why you’ll love these Easy Apple Bars
- When it’s fall baking season, apple dessert recipes are the best!
- These bars aren’t soggy, instead they offer a crunchy bottom that compliments the baked apples perfectly.
- You can eat them warm, at room temperature or refrigerated.
- They will feed a crowd.
- You can make them in advance and refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.
- The bar stays together so that you can eat them with your hands, no fork required.
- You don’t have to make a pie crust!
Apple Pie Bars Recipe ingredients
- Butter – You’ll need plenty of butter for the shortbread crust and topping.
- Walnuts – these add the perfect crunch! Easily omitted if you don’t love nuts or you could use pecans instead.
- Large apples – I recommend using a variety of crisp apples, ½ sweet and ½ tart, like Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Cortland, Braeburn or Golden Delicious. They will hold their shape while baking.
- Spice mixture – cinnamon and nutmeg are my spices of choice for apple pie.
- Pantry staples – flour, vanilla, sugar, salt, lemon juice
- Apple Brandy – this is totally optional, use it like you would vanilla, to amp up the flavor. You can easily substitute apple juice or white grape juice for the Brandy.
How to make Apple Pie Bars
Step 1: Make the shortbread
Prepare the crust. The recipe is simple to make with a buttery shortbread crust on the bottom and the top. First cream the butter and sugar and then add the flour and divide. Add ⅔’s of the shortbread to your baking pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes, then bake.
To the rest of the shortbread, add walnuts and cinnamon and refrigerate.
Step 2: Cook the apples
While the crust is in the refrigerator, peel and thinly slice the apples then cook them in a skillet with a little butter, sugar, lemon juice and apple brandy.
Step 3: Assemble & bake
Once they start to brown and have softened, place them over the baked crust.
Sprinkle the remaining shortbread on top for a final bake.
Pro Tip: A splash of apple brandy added to any apple dessert will bring out the flavor of the apples.
Top your apple crumble bars with a drizzle of apple cider caramel or a dollop of ice cream for a next level dessert!
Sometimes fruit bars can be a bit soggy, but these have a really nice crunch on the bottom and a cookie like texture on the top. While I love apple crumb pie, sometimes you want that great apple taste without making an entire pie.
If you want a true apple pie experience serve them warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
How to Store Apple Crumb Bars
Store these bars at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days, they will stay fresh longer if you refrigerate them. You can also freeze these for up to 3 months.
Some of my favorite apple dessert recipes
Try some savory apple recipes
Adapted from Ina Garten’s If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Shortbread Apple Crumb Bars (Easy!)
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.