A New Kind of Candied Apple

Post-holiday, I tend to live off of leftovers for a while. However, I have been known to bake. This is mostly because the desserts we did have on hand tend to be the first things to disappear in the great leftovers devour-a-thon. But rather than start making pies or other fussy stuff, I tend to turn to bars because they are easy and they can capture the flavors of the season beautifully. How about a crumble bar recipe featuring apples paired with the flavors of maple syrup and butter toffee:

And putting this beauty together takes 15-20 minutes. Of course, if your apples are already peeled and chopped, it takes about 10 minutes to prepare. The lion's share of the time involved in this simple dessert is the baking time, which leaves your home toasty and filled with the aroma of baked apples. Not bad at all! By the way, choose an apple you enjoy baking with, as the texture involved in these bars can vary widely. I've made it with both MacIntosh (softer, applesauce-like texture) and Golden Delicious (firmer, apple pie-like texture) and loved both results!

What to have with this fun bar? A scoop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream would be nice. So with a warm cup of coffee or tea. Oh, and a comfy chair for relaxing after a big day of cooking, celebrating, eating, and digesting!

Maple-Toffee Apple Crumble Bars

Crust & Crumble:
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned-whole rolled oats
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup crushed toffee pieces
  • About 4 cups small diced apples (from about 4 medium apples, peeled and cored)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

For the crust and crumble, in a large bowl, add the brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and cut in the butter with two forks. Keep working until mixture is combined and pea-sized crumbly bits are present. Press 2 1/2 cups of the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Add the toffee pieces to the remaining mixture, stir to combine, and set aside.

Peel, core, and dice the apples and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with the maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toss well to combine. Sprinkle the fruit evenly over the crust layer already in the baking pan. Sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture over the apples.

Bake for about an hour, or until crumble topping is just set and very lightly golden browned. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes.

  • Yields: 24 bars
  • Preparation Time: 80 minutes