Last weekend after the Privateer Rum tour, Kevin and I visited Russel Orchards to pick up some late fall apples to bake with. Well, for me to bake with, for him to eat. Kevin has an apple
thing, so we always have copious amounts of apples in the kitchen, but after this most recent trip we had probably 10lbs of apples to use. I’d bookmarked this recipe a couple weeks back for Johnny Appleseed Bars, and knew immediately that’s what I wanted to make. Something about soft and sweet cinnamon-y apples sandwiched between two layers of oatmeal-packed, buttery cookies just sounded really good to me, and the mouthwatering photos sealed the deal.
The way these bars taste recipe is reminiscent of apple pie, of course without the flaky crust (which you don’t miss at all here). I added a pinch of cloves to my recipe, which I thought rounded out the flavor and added a seasonal depth that I just loved. The bars come together easily, though do require a bit of patience to lay out the apple slices evenly – but it’s worth the bit of care for the final result.
These bars are the quintessential fall treat, so warm and cozy feeling with every bite, and a total crowd pleaser. I brought a plate of them to work and they were gone in minutes. I also saved half the pan for Kevin and I, and we enjoyed several nights of them – heated in the microwave, and served with a scoop of ice cream. So delicious!
Fall Apple Oatmeal Bars
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
scant 1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves (optional)
3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 to 5 firm cooking apples (I used a combination of local, late-harvest apples)
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, making sure the edges extend over the edges of the pan for easy removal. Place prepared pan in the freezer.
1) Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in the oats and sugar. In a separate small bowl, stir together the melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix liquid mixture into the oat mixture.
2) Press half of the dough into the prepared pan. Set aside.
3) Place the remaining dough between two 15-inch lengths of wax paper. Roll out into a 9×13-inch rectangle. Slide a flat cookie sheet under the dough and wax paper and transfer it to the freezer for a few minutes.
4) Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter lengthwise into five or six slices. Place the apple slices in rows, each slice slightly overlapping the last, on top of the bottom layer of dough.
5) Remove the rolled-out rectangle from the freezer. Peel off the top piece of paper and turn the dough over the apples. Remove the remaining paper and press down on the edges of the dough to seal it.
6) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan. Lift cake out using the edges of the foil and cut into squares or bars. These bars keep for up to a week, and freeze well.