Blondies Bars and Bites Revisited

Back story: My fascination with bar cookies began in earnest about 7 years ago when I was looking for easy sweets to take to potlucks and outings while living in Stuart, Florida. In my sugar-logged mind, it didn’t take long before I was baking so many varieties that I needed an outlet for all my excesses. Soon, I was peddling them around the countryside at local farmers markets, country clubs, delis and restaurants; thus, Blondies Bars and Bites was born.

As need increased, so did my kitchen requirements, and the ideal setting and location was discovered just around the corner from my home. With the wave of a wooden spoon Culinary Distractions was in business complete with a charming gourmet Studio, state-of-art commercial kitchen and catering operation. Naturally, Blondies, Bars and Bites made a major contribution and they were always the Stars, as far as I was concerned.

It’s no surprise that I still lapse into the bar mode on occasion and obsess over a new variation of an old familiar treat. This time it happens to be Apple Crisp Bar. This is the perfect time of year to be fiddling with this specialty, since apples are abundant, affordable and delicious.

When sorting out apples, select those that are crisp, juicy and sweet such as Gala, Golden Delicious or Granny Smith. You will need less sugar, there will be more moisture, and the flavor will remind you of that all-American treasure, Apple Crisp – in forkless, finger form!

Since bars can have an inordinate amount of butter, my challenge was to create the flavor and outcome without unnecessary fat. Here, that is achieved with the addition of an egg, which also provides additional texture and moisture. You will use the same mixture for the bottom “platform” and well as the topping “crumble”.

Enjoy this easy all-purpose sweet at your own potluck or outing, for dessert served warm topped with ice cream, or wrapped for a quick snack on the run.

Apple Crisp Bars

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oatmeal
6 tablespoons butter, cut in chunks (approx 1/3 cup)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Apple filling:
3 apples, golden delicious, granny smith etc, any/or combo,

partially peel, core, cut into small chunks
1/2 lemon, juice of
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar, more, if apples are not sweet
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line and spray 8×8″ pan.

In food processor combine flour thru salt, add oatmeal, cut in butter until crumbly. Add the egg and combine well. Reserve about 3/4 cup of mixture for topping. Pat the balance evenly into pan.
For apples: in bowl, sprinkle apples with lemon juice. Combine the dry items and toss with apples to coat. If there is excess, add it to the topping. Spread apples into pan in even layer. With fingers, crumble the topping over the apples. Spray top lightly with oil and bake until bubbly and topping browns, about 45 minutes.

Cool a bit on rack and cut into 9-12 bars.

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