Apple Streusel "Pie" Shortbread Bars Recipe
Is there anything more “quintessential fall” than the smell of apples and cinnamon? Living in upstate New York the apples are abundant this time of year, the leaves are changing, the cider is always fresh in the fridge and I use cinnamon in just about everything I make! Each year the kids and I go apple picking and each year we pick WAY TOO MANY!! Now, don’t get me wrong, plenty of applesauce gets jarred, crisps get frozen for easy bake off later on in the depth of winter, and apple butter is made, so “way too many” is a very subjective term. lol
Each fall I also am always looking for new fresh ways to incorporate apples into my baking. A few weeks back I had an idea that I wanted to create an apple bar. THIS is how I begin my creative process for new recipes. I think about it all the time, create it in my brain step by step and then am not satisfied until I make it, test it and then test it again until i’m happy with the outcome. Usually, I will search online for inspiration, find common themes in recipes and then begin my process of creating a dish. So, when I recently saw my dear friend Tanya Clark Ott’s (Global Bakes by Tanya) classic shortbread recipe scroll across my instagram feed I KNEW I wanted to try it and was inspired to incorporate it into my apple pie bar. This is how my streusel apple pie Bar was created in my brain using her Classic shortbread cookie recipe as the crust, my signature apple compote filling and a classic cinnamon and brown sugar topping baked to a golden brown crust on top. I knew I would not be satisfied until I made it. I was so pleased with it i’m sharing it with you. Yum!
Tanya and I have met a handful of times over the years during our auditions and experiences with The Great American Baking Show. She is a wonderful, kind person and although we we live so far away I love following along with her travels and her baking. The baking world is full of amazing and talented people and I love how social media keeps us all connected, always inspiring each other to grow as bakers and create new dishes.
As a side note, There are so many recipes out there on the web and I don’t like being disappointed so it is very rare that I will just try a recipe and incorporate it into my own dish without changing it and creating a new version. This is why I hold my very own recipe book that i’ve been building for the past 15 years with such high regard…everything in it has been tried, tested and perfected multiple times over the years - and if I create a recipe, I really don’t deviate from its contents. Now, I have my own shortbread recipe in my bakers book and its very similar with its prep and method BUT, I knew without a doubt that Tanya’s shortbread recipe (found here) would need no tweaking, and no testing before using as a base for my recipe and baking it up. That is baker’s trust! hahah I did add a touch more vanilla and cinnamon in the recipe listed below to fit the apple and fall flavor profile but the original recipe is the same. Boy, was I please with the outcome on the first bake. Her crust combined with my filling and topping made for a beautiful dessert. I hope you enjoy making this recipe for your loved ones this fall. Thank you Tanya for this delicious contribution to a new twist on your classic shortbread recipe.
Shortbread Crust (Recipe by Global Bakes By Tanya)
1.5 C. Unsalted Butter
1 C. Sugar
1-2 t. vanilla
3.5 C. All Purpose Flour
1/2 t. cinnamon (optional)
1.4 t. salt
Apple “Pie” Filling
3 - 4 Apples (Granny Smith) Small Diced
1 T. Flour
1 T. Sugar
2 T. Unsalted Butter
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. Cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
3 oz. chopped pecans (Reserved for top - optional)
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Sugar
.1.5 C. Flour
10 oz Butter
1/8 t. salt
1 T. Cinnamon
First, preheat oven to 350. Measure out all Ingredients.
Place butter and sugar in a mixer and mix until combined and incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix till combined. Sift flour, salt and cinnamon. Add to mixer and mix until just combined. Press into baking pan and chill for 30 minutes.
BAKER’S NOTE: USE these 30 minutes to prepare topping and filling.
Mix Topping Ingredients and set aside.
Chop apples and place all Filling ingredients into a medium size sauce pot and cook on the stove at low-medium heat until apples are tender and liquid is reduced.
BAKERS NOTE: An excellent quality MADE IN THE USA cutting board sold by Liberty Tabletop can do wonders for chopping all your fruits and veggies - link HERE OR to help cook off your apple pie filling on the stove and to bake your Streusel Apple Pie Bars Liberty Tabletop proudly sells 360 Cookware. I used all of these products when making this recipe and am proud to share them with you.
BAKER’S NOTE: Lightly coat your baking pan with spray and line with parchment paper hanging up past the edge of the pan. This will allow you to remove the entire “Bar” from the pan with ease for cutting into squares.
Remove shortbread pan from the fridge. Lightly poke the shortbread with a fork throughout and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Underbake the shortbread slightly as it will bake more once placed back into the oven with topping.
Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Place half of the Topping mix directly ontop of the shortbread base. Next, spread the apple mixture ontop of the streusel and then sprinkle the remaining streusel on top.
Place back into the oven and bake for aproximatly 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbling.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter. Place entire pan into the fridge to cool. Do not attempt to cut the bars until cooled for at lease 2 hours.
These Bars can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator but room temperature is my suggested serving temperature. These wont last long though, so make sure you enjoy one with a cup of tea before they are gone. I wish I saved an extra for myself. I guess, I will just need to make another batch and hide it. This one is a keeper!
From my kitchen to yours,
NOTE: This blog post was sponsored by Liberty Tabletop and has affiliate links to their site. I take great pride in the trust of my readers and followers. I only use and share products on my site that I use and trust in my own kitchen. Take a look and see for yourself why I love sharing Liberty Tabletop’s product with you. Not only is there product amazing in quality BUT they are the ONLY US Manufacturer of quality stainless steel flatware in the entire country and all of their partnered products are fully USA Made.