We just got back from a camping trip in Anderson Valley. This has quickly become one of my all-time favorite spots in all of California. First of all, it's tiny. My graduating high school class has more people in it. It's surrounded with vineyards, apple orchards and redwoods with a running creak going right down the middle. It's also home to some family-owned wineries that are cranking out some excellent Pinot Noir.
Apple season is here and Drew and I stopped at a stand on the side of HWY 128 which weaves north west up Anderson Valley. While looking for a recipe that would help to use up our stash, I came along this one on F&W online and decided to give it a shot. I'm using an assortment of apples even though the recipe calls for Granny Smith.
Apple Pie Bars
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup 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 (about 6 pounds)—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 375°. Line a 15-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the 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 side in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.
- meanwhile, make the filling: In each of 2 large skillets, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with 1/4 cup of the light 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 evaporated, 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 each pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.
- make the topping: Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop the walnuts. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light 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 walnuts and press the mixture into clumps.
- Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of 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.