On this Friday, September 11th, before we get to the food and fun, I just want to take a minute to remember that fateful, terrible day 14 years ago and remind myself of a few things that I truly believe but sometimes get too caught up in my busy life to think about: how fleeting and precious life is, how you always have to make the most of every moment, fiercely love those you love and enjoy your life to the fullest and how,despite the evil out there, the majority of people are good and generous.
Ok, and on to one of the things that makes life so worth living: dessert!! And I have got a winner for you today. Easy-to-make, moist, apple-y bars with a crisp cinnamon-y oat topping that are just perfect for this time of year, courtesy of One Bowl Baking, by Yvonne Ruperti, our Famous Fridays honoree this week. In addition to writing about food and and developing new recipes, Yvonne is also a former bakery owner, who developed the one-bowl method for her own tiny-home-kitchen-apartment baking so that she didn't have to lug her heavy mixer out of the closet! LOVE IT!!
The concept for this cookbook is brilliant! It's an entire collection of stellar recipes for all kinds of desserts that don't require any type of electrical appliance (that's right, no mixers or food processors) and can be mixed together in one bowl!! And we're not just talking simple cookie recipes here either, the book runs the gamut from muffins,scones brownies and cookies to cakes, pies, tarts, cheesecakes and more. And most everything can be easily gotten into the oven in 30 minutes or less!! And, there's virtually no clean-up since you only use one bowl and a couple of spoons. And, and this is the biggie, everything that I've made so far, has been terrific!! If you're a little short on time and space or intimated by more complicated recipes, One Bowl Baking is the book for you! Ok, the hard sell is over--on to these Apple Crisp Bars!
First, you make a delicious oat-based shortbread-like crust by mixing together all of the ingredients directly into the pan itself--no transferring from bowl to baking dish necessary!
Next, you stir some melted butter into the mixture and pat it down to form a nice little crust, reserving some of the crumb to top the apples before you pop the whole thing into the oven.
After you've peeled and thinly sliced the apples, you layer them in the pan on top of the crust, with a bit of sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice--
Finally finishing everything off with the reserved topping before baking these.
Your house will smell so-o-o good!
These really are like little portable apple crisps but with the added addition of a deliciously chewy and crisp buttery crust that perfectly complements the tender apples and crunchy streusel topping! It was very hard keeping little fingers from nibbling on the topping and apples, before I could get a good picture!
And if you top these bars off with a scoop of ice cream, you will have pretty much hit perfection!! So, pick up a copy of One Bowl Baking, pull out your bowl, get cooking and have a wonderful weekend sharing some great food with people you love! See ya Monday!
One Bowl Baking's Apple Crisp Bars-Famous Fridays
Makes 12 bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes; Bake Time: 1 hour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not the instant or quick kind)
1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup well packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5-6 large (about 2 pounds) Granny Smith or Cortland apples, peeled, cored, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Make sure oven rack is in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375ºF.
2. Into a 13x9x2-inch pan, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the salt and the baking soda. Combine thoroughly, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar. Pour in the melted butter and stir well, until all of the dry ingredients have been moistened. Measure out a cup of the mixture and set it aside. Press down the rest of the mixture in the pan so that it evenly covers the bottom of the pan.
3. Arrange half of the apple slices evenly over the crust and sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, the lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon over the apples in the pan. Then layer on the rest of the apples and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over them. Scatter the reserved topping evenly over the entire pan and cover it tightly with aluminum foil.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, until the apples have begun to soften a bit. Then remove the foil and and return to the oven for another 30 minutes until the topping is golden and the apples are bubbly and tender.
5. Place the pan on a rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into bars and serve as is or warm them slightly and serve with a scoop of ice cream or some whipped cream on top.
6. Bars can be kept at room temperature for one day and then will last for at least 3 more days well wrapped in the refrigerator.
Note: Recipe adapted from One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti.