Apple Cranberry Crumble Bars are a sweet and crunchy treat that celebrates the fall season.
The sight of vibrant red apples coloring the farmers’ market is a sure sign that fall has arrived. Despite the date on the calendar, there has yet to be that cool, crispness in the air that we associate with fall here on the east coast. Yet the apple trees seem to be flourishing. This year in particular, the apples appear brighter, sweeter, and juicy than ever. Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder.
As superman cooks readers know, I am normally not a dessert person. Yet there is something about this time of year that makes my taste buds perk up for something sweet. Everywhere we go lately, pumpkin-flavored desserts and sweets surround us. While pumpkin is a great choice for a dessert, I just could not forget the scent of the freshly picked apples. As we walked around the farmers’ market perusing the stands for inspiration, Jackie took one look at me and could tell that apples were stuck in my head. We decided to buy the perfect apples with little idea of what dessert they would become. I began thinking about what flavors pair well with apples. Cranberries seemed to be a good pairing, but finding fresh berries this time of year was a little tricky. So, we decided to use the dried variety and found that they worked well in this recipe because they are packed with sweetness and dry enough to soak up all the juice from the apples. Therefore, this dessert is easily eaten with your hands. Fresh pecans added a layer of crunchy flavor to these sweet treats. Apple Cranberry Crumble bars turned out to be a great on-the-go dessert, an indulgent breakfast treat, or a decadent snack that our whole family could enjoy. They are an easy treat to take to work, or share at a bake sale because they don’t require a fork. The seasonal apple flavor shines through, and the texture of the crunchy, crumbly topping is instantly addicting. Fall is definitely here, and these Apple Cranberry Crumble Bars are a great way to usher in the season.
A decadent dessert celebrating the flavors of fall
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1 1/2 C flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- For the filling:
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 C brown sugar
- 4 apples (we used honey crisp)
- 1 C dried cranberries
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 C water
- For the topping:
- 1/2 C pecans, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 C quick oats
- 1 C flour
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 stick frozen butter
- To make the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Line the bottom of a 10×13 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
- Slowly add the flour and salt and mix until soft dough forms.
- Press dough into bottom of pan and a 1/2 inch up the sides.
- Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool.
- To make the filling:
- In a large sauté pan, melt butter and brown sugar over low heat.
- Peel, core and dice apples into 1/4″ pieces. Add to pan and cook for about 8 minutes until apples have softened.
- Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and cook until carmelized.
- Add water as needed to prevent apples from sticking.
- Add cranberries and remove from heat.
- Stir until combined and allow mixture to cool.
- To make the topping:
- Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, pecans and salt.
- Cut frozen butter into 1/4 inch pieces and add to oat mixture and using your hands. Squeeze butter into mixture until butter is a mealy consitancy.
- To assemble:
- Spread apple cranberry mixture over crust and then top with crumble topping.
- Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- Remove from pan and cut and serve.