What do you do when you’ve got a plethora of apples? That was the question this fall at the Turner house, where we’ve been buried in apples since autumn first began. Over the previous few years, our ancient apple orchard didn’t bear much fruit due to insect problems, overzealous pruning, or late frosts. That all changed this year, in a big way, as we’ve been fortunate enough to harvest several front-loader buckets full of apples this season. We’ve shared them with friends and neighbors. We’ve made countless jars of applesauce, apple pie filling and apple butter. We’ve pressed gallons and gallons of apple cider. Our apples even made it into an award-winning county fair pie.
So what else could we do with our bumper crop? Recently, when desserts were requested for an event at my kids’ schools, I grabbed a bucket of apples and started peeling. The resulting recipe was an easy-to transport, easy-to-eat cross between a pie and a cookie. Not only is it less work to make than rolling out pie crust, combining our fresh apples with oats and flax seed, it’s better than any toaster pastry you’d find in the breakfast aisle. Although it’s sweet enough to be considered dessert, it’s filled with enough healthy stuff to be considered breakfast, too. I’m not making this up — according to foodreference.com, in rural homes in the 19th century, apple pie was often a common item served for breakfast. So if you’re like me, why not eat dessert for breakfast? Life’s too short.
Apple Pie Bars
(adapted from a recipe by mooreorlesscooking.com)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups cold butter, divided
5 to 6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
In a large bowl, combine the flour, flax seed, oats, brown sugar and baking soda; cut in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 2 cups for topping.
Press the remaining crumbs into a greased 13” x 9” baking dish. Arrange apples over top; set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, vanilla, cinnamon and remaining butter.
Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly; spread over apples. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Yields two to three dozen bars, depending on desired size.