Friday, October 08, 2010

Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies—Apple Betty Bars

Can I just say—whoa, the weeks just fly by being involved with TWD, FFWD and TWCC!  Having fun though and that’s what matters, right?

12 DaysWhen I thought about what cookie I wanted to share next, I also kept thinking about the Sugar Free Spiced Apple/Pear Butter I’d made recently and that made me think about some really good crumb bars I’d had back in Kansas at another one of the classes I’d taken from Chef Paige.  The bars Paige made for the class were blueberry, but she mentioned that you can really use any jam or fruit you’d like in the bars, so I decided to go with the seasonally perfect apples.  I made these bars once back in May and used apricot preserves on half and some store bought apple butter on the other half.  I was using up things we had in the fridge to get ready for our move to Utah.  Both bars were good then.  Paige’s blueberry bars were delicious.  I almost made the blueberry ones, but ultimately decided on apple.  I have a freezer full of blueberries I froze this summer, so I’ll make those next.

What I really love about these bars is how sturdy they are.  You turn the bars out of the pan and they come out perfectly every time.  (Butter will do that for a cookie! ;)  I didn’t even chill the bars, just cooled at room temperature for a couple hours.  They slice perfectly and you can decide what size you want the bars.  The recipe suggests using quick oats, but I was out and used old-fashioned oats with great success.

IMG_4075

Stack up the bars.  No problem there.

IMG_4078

These taste great as they have the spiced apple butter as well as some chunks of apple.  Any fruit/jam/filling you use and these cookies are great for Christmas trays, exchanges, or any entertaining.  You could also add walnuts or pecans to the cookie base/topping if you’d like.  Thanks for the great recipe, Paige!  If you want true cooking expertise along with great recipes shared by a real genuine person, check out Paige’s blog, A Cooking Life.

Apple Betty Bars, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Chef Paige Vandegrift’s Blueberry Betty Bars

Cookie Base and Crumble Topping:

2 cups all purpose flour (8 ounces)

1 ½ cups quick oats (4.5 ounces)

½ cup granulated sugar (3.5 ounces)

½ cup light brown sugar (3.5 ounces)

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup melted butter (1/2 lb.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and stir until well combined and crumbly. Set half of the crumb mixture (about 14 ounces each) aside and press the other half into the bottom of a quarter sheet pan or a 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake until puffed and golden—10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Apple Filling:

3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and chopped to ½ inch dice

1 cup spiced apple butter (I used homemade) (9 ½ ounces)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine the apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the apple butter and stir together.  Cook in a saucepan over medium heat until apples are tender, 10-15 minutes.  (I used a glass bowl in the microwave cooking in 2 minute intervals and stirring until the apples were tender.)

Spread the apple filling over the baked crust. Scatter the remaining crumble over all. Bake until golden brown—25 to 35 minutes. Let the bars cool. Turn them out of the pan and then back onto a cutting board. Cut into bars. Place the bars on a double thickness of paper towels for a few minutes to absorb excess butter. To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

***If you’d like to make the bars with the blueberry filling, here’s Paige’s recipe for the filling:

6 ounces mixed berries, fresh or frozen

6 ounces blueberries, fresh or frozen

4 ounces sugar

juice of half a lemon

Place berries in a medium saucepan along with the sugar and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook until thickened—you will have 1  1/4 cups of thick berry sauce. 

IMG_4080

Want more cookies?  Check out the links to all the other Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies bakers below.



19 comments:

Lisa said...

Those bars look delicious. I especially love all that crumbly topping on it. I've got some plum jam sitting in my fridge right now. I think those bars would be a perfect way to use it up. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

April said...

These look perfect! and I love that you can use any flavor that you want!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

I love jam filled bars. That apple butter filling looks gorgeous. If only I had the patience to peel, core, chop and cook so many apples!

Pam said...

These look amazing! If I hadn't already been through 1.5 bushels of apples this season, I would be tempted to get some more just to make these! BTW - i love your plate - I collect leaf plates!

Sue said...

I LOVE apple bars! Yours look beautifully DELICIOUS!

Tracy said...

Mmm, I love anything that involves jam-like fillings. Yum!

Katie Rose said...

ooh, what a great way to use some of the apple butter I made last week! I'm going to have to try these.

Megan said...

They look great Katrina - although you can never go wrong with a crumb topped bar.

jillbert said...

These look so good! I think I'd like them with any type of fruit.

crustabakes said...

i am impressed with the homemade apple butter. THese look extra delicious!

Paige said...

Katrina, Your Apple Betty Bars look great! I can't believe I haven't ever thought of making these with Apple Butter...

Thanks for mentioning my blog!

Marcellina said...

These are perfect! I tried to make something like this once but it didn't work out. I must try your recipe!

Bonnie said...

These look delicious. I love any bar cookie that will travel. This one is perfect.

Jamie said...

I love fruit bars like this and that you used your own apple butter. These would be a nice addition to any cookie platter.

amanda @ fake ginger said...

I want to make these right now. I think I even have all the ingredients but the apple butter. Wahhh! :(

Clivia said...

You had me at "sturdy". These look like a great bar. I'm definietly going to try them for the holidays.

Melynda said...

These look so good!

meettheswans.com said...

These bars too wonderful! I am going to try these while I still have fresh apples!!

Paige said...

I don't know how I missed this post... I have been wanting to try these with apple butter ever since you first mentioned it... They look really good!...what a great idea!