Apple Pie Bars

October 30, 2009


Sometimes you need a lot of treats.  Maybe you are having a big party or have a weekend’s worth of events coming up and want to bring something to each one.  Or perhaps you are incredibly well-organized and want to stock your freezer full for the family that is coming over the holidays, plus still have something to give to your kids’ teachers.

If any of the above fits you, I would advise you to make these Apple Pie Bars.  If you like the look of them but don’t know what you would do with 48 of them, I would not advise you to make them.  I made them for last weekend’s yoga retreat and I only brought about half of them and then only about half of them got eaten.  I felt like everywhere I looked in my life there were apple pie bars.  They were like little bunnies, just multiplying and multiplying.

This is not to take anything away from what is a really lovely treat.  It’s really like a slice of apple pie but in pick-up-and-eat bar form.  Aside from the task of peeling and slicing 12 apples, it’s not a lot of work for a lot of bars.  I didn’t freeze mine, but the recipe says you can and wouldn’t it be nice to have a big batch to pull from now and then?  The recipe also says you can make them up to four days ahead and keep them at room temperature but I will tell you that the crust gets a little soggy after a day or two.  No flavor is compromised, just not as crisp.


One Year Ago:  Zucchini Soup

Apple Pie Bars
Adapted from Food and Wine
Makes 48 large bars

Whenever I bake with apples, I almost always use Granny Smith.  They are readily available and while they are not what I would choose to eat out of hand, they are wonderful for baking.  I like that they keep their structure more than other apples (i.e. don’t become mush) and I also like that they are on the tart side.  To me, apple desserts should have some play on sweet and sour.

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
12 Granny Smith apples (about 6 pounds) – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup water, as necessary

3/4 cup walnuts
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

1.  Make the crust.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, 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.

2.  Meanwhile, make the filling.  In each of 2 large skillets, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with 1/2 cup of the light 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 and nutmeg 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 skillet and add up to 1/2 cup of water to each pan to prevent scorching.

3.  Make the topping.  Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden and fragrant, about 8minutes.  Let cool, then coarsely chop the walnuts.  In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the walnuts and press the mixture into clumps.

4.  Spread the apple filling over the crust.  scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly 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.

Make ahead: The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for a month.


  1. Holy mackerel, these look amazing! Sometimes I think I look forward to autumn all year just so I can start baking with apples. Thanks for sharing!


    Comment by The Hungry Mouse — October 30, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

  2. Bar cookies are my weakness, and you are speaking to me with these beauties. They sound absolutely PERFECT.

    Comment by CakeSpy — October 30, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

  3. I have a recipe for Apple Pie Bars on my site that I have been making for years, but I’d like to try these for a different twist. Thanks for the recipe.

    Comment by The Runaway Spoon — October 30, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

  4. These look phenomenal! Apple pie (frankly, any apple-related dessert) makes me swoon. Do you think it’d be possible to use regular rolled oats instead of quick-cook? I’ve always got regular oats on hand, but never quick-cook.

    Comment by Emily — October 31, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  5. Uhm…apple pie? In bar form. Can I have the whole pan? This looks perfect, I would have this any given time.

    Comment by veron — October 31, 2009 @ 1:47 am

  6. I love the sound of these bars! Crumble topping even? I also like to add a bit of sour to the sweet.

    Comment by kickpleat — October 31, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  7. I’ll must definitely make these. I ‘ll try halving the recipe.

    Comment by Julie — October 31, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  8. Your site is amazing. You are very inspiring not only for your culinary talents but your open hearted generosity in sharing! Beautiful photos, prose and ideas!

    Comment by Vivian — November 1, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

  9. so lovely! I totally understand getting over the food you make when it seems to always be looking right back at you. Hope you foudn good homes for these lovely treats

    Comment by Sara — November 1, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

  10. I just realized I left a comment from a dish you cooked in 2008! Anyway, stopping by via Stacey’s Snacks. I’m looking for good vegetarian blogs and yours is lovely. With both of my daughters being vegetarian, and we are working our way in that direction, I really need inspiration.

    Your blog is lovely. I’ll bookmark it!

    Comment by Nancy — November 1, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

  11. I have just made a batch of Apricot Oatmeal Crumble bars and have quite a bit of crumble left over… Now, I can try to make one with apple filling! Thanks!

    Comment by shirley@kokken69 — November 3, 2009 @ 8:22 am

  12. They look divine, must be all of that butter:)

    Comment by Maria — November 3, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

  13. I love that you can pick these up and eat them without a fork. Anything that I can eat in the car on-the-go is perfect! The topping looks so tasty!

    Comment by fresh365 — November 3, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  14. I have found a male member of my family eating a slice of apple pie, out of hand, in front of the television while watching football – I’ll keep his name out of this, just to keep me from getting dirty looks at the next family gathering. I’m thinking that if at said gathering I showed up with these, I’d be the most favourite family member of the day.

    They look delicious.

    Comment by tara — November 3, 2009 @ 11:33 pm

  15. This recipe sounded so good that I made a batch – used every dish in the kitchen and made quite a mess, but it was well worth it. i got nervous after 45 minutes in the oven — afraid all my work would go up in smoke — but they’re wonderful.

    Comment by Pat — November 5, 2009 @ 2:30 am

  16. They look perfect! I’m surprised they didn’t all get eaten up.

    Comment by Ashley — November 5, 2009 @ 3:45 am

  17. What a great recipe!!! Apple pie this time of year is one of my favorites!!!

    Comment by Liesl — November 5, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

  18. I made these bars and they were great. I took them to a ladies group and they all wanted the recipe and they were gone by the end of the night! Great work and great website.

    Comment by Janene from Ellinwood Kansas — November 6, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  19. I’ve never made any bars before, but I will now! Anything apple and crumble is always a winner to me. And they look divine! all fudgy and crunchy at the same time.

    Comment by Malin — November 9, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  20. […] in our house, desserts never last quite that long (though I do have a big batch of these tasty Apple Pie Bars frozen, yum! But that’s only because the recipe made 4 dozen, and even me with my seemingly […]

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  21. […] house); (b) it’s great, of course, spooned over ice cream (we’ve been having it over apple pie bars with vanilla ice cream!) but is also pretty terrific stirred into coffee, hot chocolate, or even in […]

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  22. […] Dana Treat and Cakespy Tags: Apples, Bars, Pie LikeBe the first to like this […]

    Pingback by Apple Pie Bars « Rachel's Recipes — May 31, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  23. I actually have a question…I have been making these bars every fall and continue to question one of the steps. The original list of ingredients for the filling is 1/2c light brown sugar. However during the step of adding the ingredients into 2 separate skillets is the 1/2c divided into 1/4c per skillet? The recipe only calls for 1/2c total…….BTW everyone absolutely loves this recipe, even those that do not normally eat sweets, LOL.

    Comment by kaye Pollard — October 25, 2019 @ 3:25 pm

  24. Hi Kaye. I’m signing onto my site for the first time in 6.5 years so I really apologize for the delay in response. And also, I don’t actually have an answer for you at the moment as I’m just trying to wade through over 500 comments. I will get back to you, I promise!

    Comment by dana — June 3, 2020 @ 11:21 pm

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