Who doesn’t love baked goods that feature apples? I know I do, and it’s definitely Kramer’s favorite kind of treat next to something made with peanut butter. The only problem is that I’m lazy and I hate having to make crusts and doughs and that kind of thing that you have to roll out or let rise. So sue me! I’m busy. That’s why I love these apple streusel bars. You get all of the delicious, caramely apple-pie flavor without all the work. I added some toffee bits in with the apple mixture, too, and they got all melty and delicious. These will make you think of happy holiday memories, and the time that it takes to make these is nothing compared to a pie or a turnover or something like that. The streusel crumb topping really brings it all together, and the icing drizzled on top takes it all home for me. Go ahead and make this for your next holiday gathering, or just the next time you want something sweet. It’s really easy and I bet you already have everything you need in the cupboard.
Press two-thirds of the dough into a greased and/or lined pan (lining the pan allows you to simply lift the bars out of the pan when they’re done instead of having to maneuver your knife awkwardly into the pan to cut them) and set aside.
Allow the bars to cool for about ten minutes in the pan when they’re ready, then drizzle with your glaze. Allow to set and either allow to cool completely or serve warm. If you want them to cool completely, you can put them in the fridge to speed up the process (as I did).
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 cups (about 3 medium) thinly sliced apples (I used a combination of Gala and Granny Smith – I also didn’t peel them because, again, I’m lazy, and hey – fiber! I didn’t get any complaints and you really don’t notice the skins when the apples are cooked.)
- ½ cup toffee bits
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk or water (milk is better to use, but I didn’t have any so I used water and it was still great)
- 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract (I used almond and I always prefer almond to vanilla extract when it can be used, but if you don’t have it, just use vanilla)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil or parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- To prepare the crust, mix together the 2 cups of all-purpose flour, ½ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon baking powder in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or clean hands (I prefer to use my hands) until you have pea-sized crumbles. Gently mix in beaten egg (again, I just used my hands). Gently pat about ⅔ of the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the dish. Set aside.
- To prepare the apple filling, combine the ¼ cup flour, ½ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss with apples and toffee and spread the apple mixture out on the prepared crust. Sprinkle with the reserved crust mixture over the apples evenly as best you can and bake in your preheated oven for 40 minutes. When finished, allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
- While the bars cool a bit, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract, and enough milk or water to achieve desired consistency, starting with 3 tablespoons. Drizzle the glaze over the bars with a spoon, then allow to completely cool and set, or serve warm. If you want them to be served cooled, you can pop the bars in the fridge, as I did. Cut into bars and serve.