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Apple Crumb Bars — Small Pan

by on October 21, 2007 · 16 comments

This is a small batch, 8 inch pan size recipe for apple bars.  If you cool them and chill them as directed, they cut easily and stay together very well. If you have a food processor, you can make the crust/topping very quickly. Also, the apples don’t have to be peeled, which is a bonus. I used about 3 fairly small Granny Smiths.

apple bars


Apple Crumb Bars -- Small Pan
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Apple bars with a nut and crumb topping.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt – use a little less if using regular salted butter
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided use
  • 2-3 small apples, cored and thinly sliced or chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, divided use
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch square metal pan with non-stick foil or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl or food processor, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in or process in 9 tablespoons of butter until mixture is coarse and crumbly. Reserve about 3/4 cup for topping. Pat remaining into bottom of pan. It will seem dry, but it’s supposed to be.
  3. Toss apples with half of the lemon juice and arrange in a fairly layer across crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  4. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and water. Turn heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, remaining 1 tablespoon butter and remaining teaspoon of lemon juice. Pour over apples.
  5. Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top, then sprinkle pecans over crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
  6. If you’d prefer bars that hold together, let the bars cool completely and then chill before cutting. You can bring them back to room temp after chilling, of course.

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Published on October 21, 2007

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly October 21, 2007 at 12:15 pm

quick question – do you think either the flourless peanut butter cookie or the caramel machiatto cookie dough would freeze well?

Anna October 21, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Hi Kelly,

I am positive the caramel cookies will freeze well and am 95% certain the peanut butter cookies will freeze well too.

Another thing you might consider doing with the caramel machiatto dough is freezing the dough rather than the cookies themselves. That way, you can bake them up fresh.

VeggieGirl October 21, 2007 at 5:34 pm

oooh, these apple-crumb bars look fabulous!! a lovely treat for the autumn season.

Debbi October 21, 2007 at 9:05 pm

Do you notice the skins on the apples at all in the bars? These look delicious, I might try these this week.

Anna October 22, 2007 at 6:45 am

Debbi,there are a few tiny flecks of green here and there, but I didn’t notice any taste change.

Lori January 16, 2008 at 11:25 am

I’ve made these a few times and they’re awesome! Instead of making one layer, as the recipe suggests, I make 2-3 layers (apples, cinnamon, crumbs), and then pour the bubbling goo over the top of the last crumb layer. Yum!

Mellisa March 2, 2008 at 1:24 pm

I just took these out of the oven. I could not resist taking a little spoonful out of the cornor of the pan. There was no way I was going to be able to wait until they were cool. These are fabulous. Thanks for sharing the recipe. This will be a new favorite.

Tia July 20, 2008 at 7:53 pm

This looks so good!!!! I really want to try it but just a quick question. Do you think it’ll make a difference if I use quick-cooking oats instead of rolled oats? Thanks.

Anna July 22, 2008 at 8:13 am

Tia, the texture might be a slight bit different (mealier maybe?) but probably not bad.

Sonia September 27, 2008 at 2:40 pm

I made these this afternoon but already there’s not much to chill… my family loved it :D
I wanted to tell you that since I couldn’t find rolled oats I used cornflakes instead. Of course the taste and texture must be different from the original one but it wasn’t bad at all. Thought this might be useful to someone.

Karen October 2, 2008 at 11:33 am

These are terrific! This was perfect for Rosh Hashana. I usually make an apple cake but this was easier and I think tastier. Thanks.

Jessica October 11, 2008 at 1:49 pm

I made these yesterday and they were fantastic…a new family favorite. I even forgot the last 1 TB butter in the sauce, and they were still great. Thanks for this recipe!

Carol A, December 10, 2008 at 11:16 am

I made these yesterday and took them to a holiday gathering. They were a very big hit.

These really remind me of apple pie, and are perfect for me because I love apple filling and crumb tops, but I don’t love pie crust. An apple crumble or crisp is ideal for me, or eating a crumb top apple pie and leaving the crust. But these squares have the best of both worlds plus a bottom layer that I could love and that makes them pretty easy to handle.

I only have a square glass pan, not a metal one, and as I put the crust layer in I realized it probably is only 8 inches, not 9. It was a pretty thick layer, so I held out more than 3/4 cup for the topping. Then I had used 2 medium Granny Smiths, so I had a super thick layer of chopped apples, too! I was a little concerned but they came out just fine. I think next time I will double the recipe and use my 9×13 metal pan.

Oh, and I left off the pecans, too, in case anyone was allergic to nuts, but I’ll try them with nuts next time. I think I might add a little more cinnamon, too (I love cinnamon.)

Thanks again, Anna!

Cyndi May 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Made these twice now. Yummy! If you’d like to send them over the top, you can make Caramel Apple Bars by using 1 cup rum-raisin caramel sauce in place of the cornstarch-thickened simple syrup.

Anna May 23, 2009 at 6:23 am

Hi Cyndi,

I’m glad you liked them. I put this recipe on the Top 5 list because it always gets good reviews. I love the run raisin idea!

terri levin March 3, 2014 at 8:15 am

I finally made these bars yesterday and they are a “10”. My husband just loved them. I substituted 1/2 cup AP flour for 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour.

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