My favorite season in the entire universe has been treating us well here in Texas. Though the weather is still a tad warmer than I would like it, Fall is here and I'm ready to party. The leaves are changing (sloooowly), the nights are becoming cooler and I've pulled out every pair of boots and sweaters and jackets I own, because here in Texas you only get to wear them 2 months out of the year. Time is of the essence people!
Fall also brings around some of my favorite fruits -- Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits! (Oh my!) But my favorite would have to be the endless varietals of apples -- Honey Crisp (my favorite), Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji -- I try to make everything apple during the Fall. So let's start this season off right with these DELICIOUS Apple Pie Bars, the tartness from the Granny Smith Apples gives this dessert a wonderful flavor. Not to mention the nutty streusel topping and the buttery shortbread crust that will put a smile on anyone's face!
(From Food and Wine Magazine)
Ingredients for Apple Pie Bars: (makes 4 dozen bars)
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 12 granny smith apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup water, as necessary
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 3 cups quick-cooking oats
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a 15 by 17" rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and 1/2 inch up the sides in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden and set. Let cool on a rack.
Meanwhile, make the filing: In each of 2 large skillets, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillets and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir half of the cinnamon and nutmeg into each skillet. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaoprated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillets and add up to 1/2 cup of water to eac pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.
Make the topping: Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden a fragrant, 8 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the walnut sand press the mixture into clumps .
Spread the apple filing over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the cente rof the oven for 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.
** The bars can be store in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for up to a month.
You can also make a smaller batch (2 dozen) by dividing the amount of the ingredients in half.
Since we're on the subject of Apples, I wanted to share with you guys a shoot I did for my friends Heather and Trevor. Photography is always fun when your subjects are as photogenic as Heather and Trevor and their love for each other is inevitable through these photos.
Heather first fell in love with Trevor when they were tiny tots back in elementary school. Several years later in High School, they were reunited at a party -- Heather spotted Trevor across the room and rushed up to him -- "HEY! I had a HUGE crush on you in elementary school!" And the rest is history. Long story short, he fell in love with her beautiful blue eyes and heart of gold she fell in love with his brawn and robust personality.
Could these two be any more adorable? I love the fact that Heather is the beautiful southern belle and Trevor is the rugged Texan cowboy -- I love the contrast of not only of their apperances but of their personalities.
They've been happily married and will be celebrating their 3 year anniversary soon -- kudos to you Heather and Trevor! To one of the most beautiful couples I know -- thank you for letting me photograph you guys :)