Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars

Hello fall!  It is finally here!  Fall is my favorite season, which is sad because it is so short up here.  The snow is already starting to make its way down the hillside, the grass is frosty in the morning, and the days are getting noticeably shorter (five and a half minutes per day shorter).  As we get ready to hunker down for six months of snow and darkness, I am comforting myself with fall flavors–cinnamon, apple, pumpkin, squash, cloves, and more. 
These apple streusel oatmeal bars kicked off my fall baking this year.  And we certainly started with a bang.  I really loved the combination of the tart apples with the sugar and spices.  I also loved the shortbread-like cookie on the bottom combined with the crunchy oatmeal crumble on top.  They were easy to make and very forgiving–you can add more apples, take some away, add more spices, take some away, add the oatmeal crumble topping or use a creamy vanilla anglaise instead (or both!…mind blown).  
These little bars were also perfect for breakfast or dessert (I tried them for both meals).  I can’t wait to  have them after a long day of skiing dipped in hot spiced cider or warm cherry wine.  I hope you love them as much as we did.  

Happy fall!

Even Mozzy Monster loved them!

Apple Streusel Oatmeal Bars:

For the shortbread pastry…
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten
For the apple filling…

  • 1/2 cup of white sugar (or a little less)
  • 1/4 generous cup of flour
  • 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of cloves (I love cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 4ish cups of tart apples, peeled and cut into small pieces (I used apples picked from a co-    worker’s tree, but next time I will use honeycrisps and maybe reduce the sugar a tad)

For the oatmeal crumble…
  • 1 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 1/4 cups of oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

To make the bars…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the shortbread crust first. Mix flour, sugar salt, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.  
  3. Cut in the butter with your fingers or with a pastry blender.  Mix until you have pea-sized crumbles.
  4. Gently mix in the beaten egg.
  5. Spray an 11 x 15 baking dish (or two 9 x 13 dishes) with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Pat the shortbread mixture into the bottom of the dish.
  7. Next make the apple filling.  Combine the apples with the flour, sugar, and your assortment of spices.  Toss evenly to coat.
  8. Spread evenly over the crust.
  9. Finally, make the oatmeal crumble.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, salt and baking soda. 
  10. Add in the granulated sugar and the brown sugar.  Mix until no clumps remain.
  11. Add in the melted butter and vanilla.  Stir until evenly moistened.
  12. Loosely crumble on top of the apples.
  13. Bake for 45-50 minutes–until the oatmeal crumble is beginning to brown.
  14. Allow to cool.  Although I bet it would be delicious hot on top of ice cream.  
  15. ENJOY!

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