Apple Shortbread Bars can be described as an apple pie with a shortbread crust, or an apple crisp bar. Deliciously simple. Elegantly rustic. Purely sensational.
I live in a world where food is comfortable, recognizable, and easy to pronounce. And, in that world, desserts are sweet, rustic, simple, and no-fuss. In the world I am talking about, Apple Shortbread Bars fit right in. In fact, if that world had a food to represent it, Apple Shortbread Bars would be that food.
These bars are a perfect treat or dessert any time of the year, but for some reason – blame it on society if you will – any dessert that has apples as a main ingredient, always seem to taste better in the fall. Am I alone in my thinking?
Maybe it’s just feels more like that with this particular dessert, because it not only has apples, but also shortbread. And, everyone knows that shortbread is greatly associated with fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
One of my favourite things about this dessert is the autumn-inspired spices. Anything with cinnamon in it is bound to be liked by me, but if you add any combination of ground nutmeg, ginger, or cloves to the mix as well, I`m bound to not only like it, but love it. Apple Shortbread Bars has both cinnamon and nutmeg, so that`s just fine with me.
I was delighted to find a way around apple pie season. I love apple pie, but I can’t post an apple pie recipe to Lord Byron’s Kitchen. I can’t do that you see, because I cannot make pie crust. I know many of us at-home bakers will take advantage of shortcuts and buy a store-bought pie crust, but that just seems like cheating to me.
I would’t mind buying the pie crust, baking the pie, and eating it with my family, but I wouldn’t consider posting it to the blog. If you take a look back at my Quick and Easy Cherry Pie Filling recipe, you’ll note that I was super confident with posting a pie filling, but I didn’t post a pie or a pie crust recipe with it. I tried, I really did; but, it was a huge fail.
John.e has encouraged me to try again, and I will soon. In the meantime, he has bought me a new pie plate, a can of pie beans, and a pastry cutter. He has even bought one of those cute little birds that you stick in the pie to let the steam escape. I have all of the tools, you see, but just not the know-how. Practice makes perfect, so they say. I guess I better get to practicing!
In the meantime, I’m going to sit back with my coffee which has a generous splash of light half and half, and two packets of stevia. Next to that coffee, you’ll find a little white plate with a big slice of my Apple Shortbread Bars. Now, the question remains, Dear Reader, should I be naughty and add a scoop of good vanilla ice cream?
Speaking of ice cream, that’s a great way to serve these Apple Shortbread Bars as a dressed up dessert. I would even suggest a pumpkin spice flavoured whipped cream! Somebody stop me; this is getting out of control!!
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Apple Shortbread Bars
For the Base:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
For the Center:
- 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin wedges
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Top:
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
For the Base:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8X8 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Use a handheld mixer to cream the butter. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Press the base mixture into the prepared baking dish. Try to get it pressed out as evenly as possible.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Increase the temperature of your oven to 350 degrees.
For the Center:
- Add the prepared apples, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and flour to a bowl. Toss together well to combine and to coat the apples. Set aside.
For the Top:
- Add the flour, sugar, and butter to a small mixing bowl. Use a hand held mixer to incorporate the butter into the flour and sugar. It should be crumbly and resemble wet sand. Set aside.
- Sprinkle half of the topping mixture evenly over the cooled base.
- In rows, position the apple slices onto the base, overlapping as you go. You should get three rows.
- Sprinkle over the remaining topping mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from fridge and cut into squares.
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Recipe Inspired by: www.soberjulie.com