Quick & Easy Apple Pie Bars

The best part of this is the crispy, crunchy top.  Way better than a traditional pie crust that has to be made separately. Or maybe it’s the way the layer hides gooey caramelized “cake” beneath studded with lots of juicy apple chunks. There certainly isn’t a bottom crust. Who needs it?

I think the magazine I found this in originally called it “Apple Nut Crunch” – but I often don’t put in nuts. I sometimes called it “apple crunch cake,” but then I put in so many apples it sometimes barely seems like cake. It’s more cohesive than an apple cobbler, less formal than a pie. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious.

The secret to the odd texture contrast is in the egg-sugar batter. It’s almost like making a meringue – there’s no fat in the recipe except for the egg yolks, and less flour than sugar.

I usually quadruple the recipe and put it in a large pan so I get pretty thin bars, but if you doubled it and put it in a smaller pan you’d get something more like a traditional cake. Peeling the apples isn’t absolutely required, but does make for a softer filling. It’s the only thing that makes it take much longer to do a larger batch, of course, since the rest is pretty basic stir and stick in the oven.

Apple Pie Bars

Yield: 1 8×8″ pan (4-6 servings? depends how big you cut the pieces – I could eat it as one serving)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3  c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • ½ c. chopped nuts, optional
Beat the egg and sugar together until thick and sticky, then mix in vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients, beating until smooth. It will be a very thick, sticky batter.
Stir in apple chunks and nuts, if you like them. Spread into greased 8” baking pan and bake 20-25 min. (longer if you cook it in a thicker layer)
Loosen around the edges and cut into squares – the top will crackle up as you cut through the top crust. It’s extra delicious served warm with ice cream. 🙂

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