Apple pie is my all-time favorite dessert. My family knows this well—ever since I was 9, my grandmother has made me a birthday apple pie instead of a cake.
The problem is, I’m no good at making pie. I have no trouble with the filling and I can physically mix the dough for a pie crust, but for some reason, I am completely unable to properly roll it out. Enter apple pie bars: The glorious, it’s-fine-if-this-is-messy solution to my pie-making woes. The bonus? It’s also WAY less messy than cutting and eating a traditional pie, so it’s the perfect dessert to bring to a party (which we did. We brought them to three different Christmas gatherings last month and they were a hit).
I found this delicious recipe on Love Grows Wild, and instead of rolling out the dough for a solid top crust, I crumbled it over the apple filling to make a streusel-like topping. It gave the bars a unique texture with that same classic apple pie taste you know and love. Oh, and did I mention the incredible powdered sugar glaze you get to drizzle on top? I kind of never want to eat another pie without it.
The best thing about this recipe is the fact that you can
lie to yourself completely convince yourself that by opting for an apple-based dessert, you’re being a little healthier than if you made, say, a cheesecake or a rich chocolate cake. Apples are one of the healthiest foods out there—just ask Helen at Well-Being Secrets, who rounded up nearly three-dozen science-backed health benefits of eating apples!
Apple Pie Bars
Adapted from Love Grows Wild
Makes 12 to 16 bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter (diced)
¼ cup milk
1 egg yolk
4 – 5 apples (peeled, cored and diced – Granny Smith is recommended, but we used Gala)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. apple pie spice*
1 egg white
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
*If you don’t have pre-made apple pie spice, you can make it yourself with 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. allspice
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Place flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (This can also be done with a pastry cutter). Add milk and egg yolk, and pulse until mixture can be formed into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate while preparing filling.
Combine diced apples and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar and apple pie spice. Pour flour mixture over apples and toss to coat.
Divide pie crust dough into two pieces. Roll out one half and press into the bottom of an ungreased 13×9″ baking dish. Pour apple mixture over the crust and spread them up to ½” around the edge of the crust, then crumble the second half of the pie crust evenly over the top.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until foamy and brush over top of the pie. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl and sprinkle evenly.
Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for at least 30 minutes on a baking rack.
Combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth to make a glaze. Drizzle over pie and cut into bars.