Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Apple pie bars + a disappointing cookbook

Apple pie bars / Barrinhas de torta de maçã

I have got to tell you something: I’ve removed Leila Lindholm’s book from my favorite cookbooks list – I’d placed it there because of the beautiful photos and delicious-looking baked goods, but then, reading the recipes thoroughly, I noticed that they seemed a little strange. It suddenly hit me: it must be a translation problem, an idea confirmed by the customer review section at Amazon (which I should have read before buying the book, right?). :(
Since I wanted to bake cookies to bring to work but wasn’t in the mood for recipes that do not work – am I ever? – I went straight for Carole Walter’s wonderful cookie collection and these bars were the result. They might seem like a lot of work with three different layers but trust me, they’re not – there’s even time for some TV while the apples cool down.

Apple pie bars
from the amazing Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets

Apple filling:
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 6mm (¼in) thick
1/3 cup (58g) brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey

2 ¼ cups (315g) all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 cup (2 sticks/226g) unsalted butter, slightly firm
½ cup (88g) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

Streusel topping:
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (44g) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
¼ cup (56g/½ stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 1/3 cups (146g) pecans, toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped

Start by making the filling: combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes to let the apples release their juices. Uncover and cook until the juices have evaporated and the apples are soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Crust: Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F. Lightly butter a 22x32cm (13x9in) baking dish, line it with foil leaving an overhang on two opposite sides, then butter the foil as well*.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, then the egg, and mix just until blended.
Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until incorporated – dough will be soft; place spoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking dish then, using lightly floured fingertips, spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until just golden and coming away from the sides of the pan. Turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F.
In the meantime, make the streusel: in the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt on low speed. Add butter and mix until mixture is crumbly and barely holds together when squeezed. Stir in pecans.
When crust is done, immediately spread apples over it, and sprinkle with streusel. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until streusel topping is light brown and crisp (mine needed 32 minutes in the oven).

* I made the exact recipe above using a 20x30cm (8x12in) baking pan; since it has a removable bottom I did not line it with foil – just buttered it well

Makes 24 bars


Priya Suresh said...

Marvellous bars..

Tesei said...

Oh sorghum hear that Patricia, it's horrible when you get you new book and it's not as good as you expected. But thanks for the post, sometimes one can't know what one's buying.

Jan said...

I too love that Carole Walter "Great Cookies" book! I'm a huge fan but I never gave the apple pie bars a try! So glad you did. They look amazing :)

Unknown said...

Those bars look perfect, the book not so much, not putting it on my wish list!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people do that, if you want to share your recipes and you receive money for that, why don't write it correctly? If you don't want other people to know your secrets, don't write a book!!!
Good to know that you find this wonderful recipe for apple pie bars, look wonderful and very tasty.

Mandy said...

These look amazing! I can't wait to try making them!

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

Yum, I love apple pie bars (as you know ;) ).

Half Baked said...

Too bad about the cookbook. Your apple bars look delicious!

tanja said...

These apple bars look so good, I am a big fan of apples in cakes, and I will have to try this recipe!

Martha said...

It is such a shame when you buy a book and it doesn't turn out to be what you expected. I had my share of that. Those Bars look delicious.

Anonymous said...

I made these tonight and I was a little disappointed. They look so good in your picture but mine didn't turn out like that. I followed the recipe exactly but the crumble came out dry and flour-y.
Aside from that, I'd definitely double the apple filling to add moisture.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hey, Anonymous, I'm sorry you didn't like the bars. :(

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