I’ve always thought the expression “easy as pie” was a little misleading. I’m not saying making pie is rocket science, but I’m not sure I would classify it as easy. Rolling out cold pie dough and getting those beautiful pie designs you see on Pinterest actually take more kitchen skills than I possess. Ha. But you know what IS easy? These apple pie bars!
These easy apple pie bars have a buttery bottom crust, a sticky sweet apple pie filling, and then my favorite part: crumb topping! An alternative name for these apple pie bars would be “apple cobbler bars” since I often do a crumb topping like this for cobbler. These are delicious, easy to make, and super easy to serve or travel with.
My friend, Mara, has an apple tree in her yard and gifted me a big bag of apples, which was the inspiration because making these apple pie bars. 🙂
You can make the filling in advance–it’s similar to making a thick and chunky applesauce. The crust and top take only minutes to throw together, so this whole recipe is super simple to make, even if you are making multiple dishes for a bigger meal with family.
The below recipe is perfect for an 8-inch square baking pan (what I like to call a “brownie pan”), but if you are making this for a crowd, double the recipe and use a 9×13-inch baking pan.
I know Thanksgiving and the holiday season this year is looking very different for me and I have a feeling many of you are there too. Although I do believe in letting ourselves feel all the things we may be feeling (grief, anxiety, etc.), I also plan to practice gratitude and love myself and my family/friends as much as possible and in whatever safe way I can. Making gratitude a big part of my life has always helped me during up and down times. And one thing I am grateful for is this community where I get to share recipes and crafts and little bits of my life. I am truly thankful for YOU and I hope you find joy and gratitude no matter what else you may be going through this year. Lots of love, Emma
P.S. If you love easy apple recipes, try this 5-minute apple crisp for one!
Easy Apple Pie Bars
- 4 baking apples
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1-2 tablespoon water
Peel and cube the apples, avoiding the core.
In a small pot, combine the apple pieces with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 6-8 minutes until the apples begin to break down.
Stir in the cornstarch and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes until the mixture thickens. You are looking for a texture that is in between applesauce and jam.
For the crust, mix together the butter, granulated sugar, and flour. Add a tablespoon of water and continue to mix until a very crumbly dough forms. If needed you can add another tablespoon of water.
Divide the dough in half. In a square baking pan covered with parchment paper, press half of the dough into the bottom. Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes.
Then spoon the apple pie filling over the partially baked crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the top. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the crumb topping begins to brown.
Allow to cool before cutting into squares.