I’m not trying to brag or anything, but I just had the nicest weekend. I mean it was absolutely an A+ weekend. I was coming off a bit of a rough week, so it was exactly what I needed. It’s funny too, because I didn’t really have any plans. Things just kept unfolding, and each surprise turned out to be a little bit nicer than the previous one. Things started off pretty well on Friday afternoon when I decided to drive out to a nearby orchard, on what was probably the last gorgeous 80 degree day of the year, for some apple picking. I got a little carried away and came home with a half a bushel, which is probably the correct amount of apples for a family, but a little bit excessive for a single person. Oops. Moderation has never really been my thing.
When I woke up Saturday morning, my roommate told me about a free event going on downtown that night. The Philadelphia Opera Company was airing a performance of their most recent show, La Bohem, on a big screen right on the lawn of Independence Hall. Well I’d never seen an opera before, so why not try something new! I rarely say no to free events. I also rarely arrive at an event empty handed! So Saturday afternoon, I busted out my half bushel of apples and started getting creative. First things first, I knew we were going to need a drink. That one was a no-brainer. How Sweet Eats had just posted a recipe for Apple Cider Sangria and the second I saw it, I knew I had to make it. (seriously. you have to make this sangria. it is so. freaking. good.) As for an appley-snack, I had a couple ideas in mind, but finally settled on these Apple Crumb Bars. They are easy to make, simple to transport, and absolutely perfect for a fall picnic!
And as for Saturday evening. Ahhh there are no words. Such a memorable experience. I love the diversity of this city and the way there is always something new to try. 4 of us sat out on a blanket, under clear skies, sipping sangria, munching on Apple Crumb Bars, and enjoying some of Philadelphia’s finest art. I’m not sure if it was the performance, or the sangria, (or a little of both) but I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
I love October. And I love this recipe.
I’m sure that you will love it too.
For the bars:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup butter
For the filling:
- 4 cups slivered apples (about 3 apples)
- 1/4 cup apple brandy**
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbs butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
For the glaze
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp apple cider (or other liquid)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking pan and line it with parchment paper so the paper extends over the edges of the pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse it a few times to mix the ingredients together. Cube up a stick and a half of butter, and add it to the food processor. Quickly pulse it to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. It will have a coarse, moistened texture when the butter is properly incorporated. Scoop out 1 1/2 cups of the crumble and set aside. Dump the remaining crumble into the prepared baking pan and use your hands to pack it down. Bake the crust for 12 minutes, or just until is starts to firm up and turn a light golden brown. Let the crust cool completely.
While the crust is cooling, prepare the apples. Core, peel, and sliver 4 cups of apples. I used 2 very large apples, but you’ll probably need 3 normal sized ones. In a large bowl, combine the apples, brandy, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Use a wooden spoon to toss the ingredients making sure the apples are well coated. I used apple brandy as my liquid, because I had it on hand. If you don’t have any, try any other fall inspired liquor like bourbon or a spiced rum. Otherwise, just use some lemon juice!
Once the crust has cooled, pour the apple mixture over it and spread it out evenly. Top the apples with the remaining crumble and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes. The apples will be tender and the top will be golden brown when done. Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes. When they are easy to handle, lift the entire thing out of the pan with the parchment paper and transfer it to a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the bars are cooling, mix together a simple glaze. I started with a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mixed in a teaspoon of vanilla and 2 teaspoons of apple cider. If you don’t have apple cider on hand, any liquid will do. I suggest adding the liquid slowly and mixing until you reach your desired consistency. Some days I use 2 teaspoons, but sometimes its a bit more or a bit less. Once the bars have cooled, cut them into individual servings and drizzle with glaze. Let the glaze harden before stacking the bars. They will store well in a sealed container for about 5 days.
Smitten Kitchen Raspberry Breakfast Bars
These breakfast bars are one of my favorite summer treats, so I thought it would be fun to give them a fall inspired twist!
An autumn treat that’s perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert!