It's apple season and what better way to celebrate then with these apple pie bars?! They have a buttery, shortbread crust, sweet apple filling, and a cinnamon and cardamom streusel topping. They come together quickly and are incredibly delicious.
Why you will love these apple pie bars
- The shortbread crust. Look, I am all for a homemade pie dough, but sometimes you're lazy and that's okay!! This shortbread crust is the best alternative. It is so soft, buttery, and paired with the apple filling and streusel topping it is just *mwah* chef's kiss!
- The apples. The apples are the star of this dessert. We use 6 large apples (about 700 grams) to make up this apple filling. A thick apple layer is key to a perfect apple pie bar.
- The streusel. I am of the opinion that 98% of desserts should have a streusel topping. These apple pie bars are no exception. It is perfectly spiced with cinnamon and cardamom and the crunch it adds to every bite is absolutely incredible!
- Sugar: granulated sugar is the sweetener of choice in this recipe. It is used in the shortbread crust, the filling, and the streusel.
- Butter: unsalted butter is the butter of choice so we can control exactly how much salt goes into this recipe.
- All purpose flour: all purpose flour is used in the base, filling, and the streusel. It just adds the perfect texture to all three components.
- Apples: the star ingredient! I like to use a mix of sweet and tart apples for the filling. My preferred apples to use are honeycrisp and granny smith!
- Spices: the warm spices used in this recipe are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom.
- Make the shortbread crust. Whisk together the granulated sugar, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and fold until combined. Pre-bake for 20-23 minutes.
- Make the filling. Slice your apples and mix them with the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, flour, and lemon juice. Layer the apples on top of the pre-baked shortbread crust.
- Prepare the streusel. Whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cardamom. Add the melted butter and mix until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the streusel on top of the apples.
- Bake! Bake the bars for 45-50 minutes. The apple juices will be bubbling and the streusel will be golden brown.
- Let cool. Let cool at room temperature for one hour, then in the fridge for another 2-3 hours. You want the filling to be completely set otherwise they may fall apart. Enjoy!
Apple pie bar baking tips
Use a mix of sweet and tart apples.
This makes for the best apple filling! I typically go with three honeycrisp and three granny smith apples, but feel free to mix and match and do what you like! It is going to be delicious either way.
Pre bake the shortbread crust.
This is key, otherwise the crust will be underbaked and soggy. Pre bake the shortbread crust for 20-23 minutes at 300F until it starts to get golden brown.
Slice your apples thin.
I like to slice my apples thin - about ⅛ to ¼ inch slices. This will ensure they get fully cooked through and you won't be left with chunky, underbaked apple slices.
Let the apple pie bars cool completely.
Once your apple pie bars are done in the oven, let them cool at room temperature for one hour and then for an additional 2-3 hours in the fridge. You want the filling to be completely set before you slice into them, otherwise these bars may fall apart.
Baking in grams
While I provide volume measurements for the recipes on my blog, I highly suggest baking these recipes using weight. It is the most standardized and accurate way to bake. I carefully recipe test all of my recipes using a kitchen scale, not by using cups, and therefore I cannot guarantee the success of my recipes when using volume measurements.
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Apple Pie Bars
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
- 6 (700 grams) large apples
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ cup (31 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup (84 grams) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter melted
- Preheat your oven to 300F and line a 9 inch pan with parchment paper with overhang on at least two sides. This will make it easier to remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, and salt until combined. Add the flour and fold together until a dough forms. Press the dough into an even layer into the bottom of your pan.
- Pre-bake the shortbread crust for 20-23 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and bump up the temperature to 350F.
- While your shortbread base is baking, make the filling. Peel and slice your apples into ⅛-1/4 inch slices.
- Add them to a bowl with the granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, flour, and lemon juice. Toss together until the apples are all evenly coated and layer them on top of your shortbread base.
- Whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and cardamom. Pour in the melted butter and mix until the mixture resembles wet sand. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the apples.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until the apple juices are bubbling and the streusel is golden brown. Let cool at room temperature for one hour, then in the fridge for an additional 2-3 hours until the filling has set. Slice and enjoy! Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!
I'm needing a gluten free crust. Do u know if a almond flour (or another flour) would work? Thanks
I have never tried it, but I like Bob's Red Mill 1-1 gluten free baking flour as an alternative! If you try it, please let me know how it works!
I made this last night and every single person that tried it, loved it. I for sure will be making this again!
Thank you so much, Hannah! I am so happy everyone loved it!
Is it a 9x9” pan??square pan
Yes! A 9x9 inch square pan.
Hubby loved it! Thank you!
Thank you so much!