If you’re craving apple pie but don’t want to make a huge pie, these Dutch Apple Pie Bars are your perfect solution! Chewy, soft and tender apple pie bars with an irresistible Dutch crumble topping. Caramel sauce on top is mandatory!
GAH. I’m back from the dead and ready to party, y’all.
Sorry for my brief absence! I was sick, and then my photo editing program went on the fritz, and then I had to order a new computer. None of this was conducive to posting a bunch of fall-y recipes, so I apologize! I dropped the ball.
But! I’m back with a vengeance. A fall-inspired flavor vengeance.
This time of year is usually dedicated almost exclusively to pumpkin flavors, but I’m partial to apple flavors myself. I just feel like apple doesn’t get its time in the sun with pumpkin hogging everyone’s attention, ya know? Pumpkin is good and all… but apple is awesome, too.
I’m here to give apple its moment in these fantastic Dutch Apple Pie Bars!
These make the perfect amount (9… or if you cut them smaller, 12), come together pretty simply and are 100% scratch-made.
They start with a shortbread-esque crust that is substantial enough to support the weight of sliced apples and a whole lotta Dutch crumble topping. You’ll pre-bake the crust to give it a chance to set up before piling it on with thinly sliced, peeled apples. For the apples, I used Honeycrisp because it was what I had on hand, but you can use pretty much any apple you’d like! Tart Granny Smith would be classic, but something like Pink Lady would be fabulous, too.
Then you’ll make your Dutch crumble topping which, let’s face it – is pretty much the best part. It consists of sugar, butter, some cinnamon, and oats and is pretty much what dreams are made of. Sprinkle it up all over those apples and bake this sucker until its golden brown, set, and the apples are tender and soft.
The hardest part is letting them cool for a bit so they can set up. These are definitely not bars you cut into straightaway – they need time to set up so they cut and serve nicely.
But yeah, that caramel sauce on top is pretty much mandatory.
*adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
- FOR THE CRUST:
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 2 large apples (I used Honeycrisp, but Granny Smith or a tart red, like Pink Lady, would work too!), peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- FOR THE CRUMBLE:
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking or oatmeal)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cold butter, cubed
- Salted caramel sauce for serving, optional but highly recommended
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line an 8x8" square pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil liberally with cooking spray; set aside.
- First, make your shortbread crust. Combine the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour in a medium bowl until a soft dough comes together. Press the shortbread crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, but keep the oven on and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- While the crust pre-bakes, combine your apple filling ingredients into a medium bowl and toss to coat. When crust finishes pre-baking, top the crust with the apple mixture. It may seem like a lot of apples, but they will cook down some. Try to move the apple slices around to fill in any gaps and make an even layer of apples.
- Next, make the crumble. Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold, cubed butter with two forks or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse, pea-size crumbs. Crumble the mixture evenly over the top of the apple layer.
- Bake the pie bars for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender and set. Cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight, to set completely before cutting into squares to serve. Drizzle with salted caramel before serving.
I meeeean… just look at them! They’re so perfect!
Have a super sweet day!