YESSSSSSSSSSS. It's apple pickin' season!!!!
Er, or something.
OMG. How excited are you to go apple picking?!?! We lurrrrrve it. There is something about picking your own fruit...the cute little baskets, the nifty triangle ladders, the ripe, lucious apples that you can just pluck off the tree and eat! Wagons, hay rides, pumpkins! And, most importantly, we lurrrrrve the cider and fresh donuts. Who doesn't? Really. Don't fool yourselves.
Here's the slight problem with apple picking.
You come home with 9 MILLION APPLES!!! Argh!
For the love! What are we supposed to do with 9 millions apples?!?!? Ok. So maybe, we only came home with 30 apples, but that is still a crap-ton of apples. A month's worth of apples? No one really eats an apple-a-day, right? Naturally then, we asked ourselves, what can we bake?
We have this slight aversion to pies. It's called dough. I mean, we'll make pie and they turn out well, but the dough is just SUCH A CHORE! Ugh! Dough.
We're pretty type-A (in case you haven't picked that up yet) and dough is SO MESSY. And it never turns out as perfectly as it does in America's diners.
So we searched for an alternative and found it in these scrumptious, not-too-sweet and not-too-tart Apple Pie Bars which we think are more like Apple Crumble Bars but really it's just semantics.
The recipe uses 12 whole apples which means you only have to really eat an apple every-other-day-ish. Not that we don't like eating apples but they are so much tastier with peanut butter...or in Apple Crumble Bars.
Apple Crumble Bars
Makes 48-ish bars
Adapted from Food & Wine
For the Crust:
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
12 fresh, crisp apples (about 6 pounds), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup water, as necessary
For the Topping:
1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Line a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and 1/2 inch up the side in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.
In each of 2 large skillets (or one giant copper skillet that we randomly have), melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with 1/4 cup of the dark brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillets and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir half of the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla into each skillet. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillets and add up to 1/2 cup of water to each pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.
In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles large peas. Stir in the walnuts and press the mixture into clumps.
Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them gently into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.