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An apple crumb bar drizzled with maple icing, on a white plate with a pink linen napkin.

Brown Butter Apple Bars with Maple Drizzle

Heather Smoke
Brown butter adds nutty flavor to the crust and crumble topping in these bars. A sweet and tart apple filling is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Finished with a drizzle of maple icing.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16

Ingredients
  

Apple Filling

  • 2 lbs apples (preferably Granny Smith), about 4 large apples
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp water

Crust & Topping

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, divided
  • cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Maple Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1-2 tbsp cream

Instructions
 

Apple Filling

  • Peel and core the apples, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a saucepan.
  • Add the sugar, flour and spices, and toss the apples to coat in the mixture. Stir in the water.
  • Bring the apples to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce to medium low, and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, until the liquid is thick and syrupy and the apples have begun to soften.
  • Set aside to cool slightly.

Crust & Topping

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until nutty brown solids form on the bottom of the pan. This should take about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour (reserving 1/2 cup of flour for later) with the brown sugar, salt and baking powder.
  • As soon as the butter is browned, use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan to scrape up all the browned bits. Pour the hot butter over the flour mixture. Stir with a spoon to form it into a soft dough.
  • Scoop 2/3 of the dough (reserving 1/3 of the dough for the crumb topping) into the prepared baking pan, and use your hands to press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Take the reserved 1/2 cup of flour and add it to the remaining 1/3 dough. Use a fork or pastry cutter to work the flour into the dough until you have a crumbly topping. Set aside.
  • After the crust bakes for 20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven. Pour the apple filling over the hot crust, then sprinkle the apples with the crumb topping. Bake for another 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
  • Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Maple Icing

  • Before serving, combine the icing ingredients in a bowl and stir vigorously with a spoon until smooth, adding more or less milk depending on how thick you want your icing to be.
  • Immediately drizzle the icing over the bars. It will set in about 10 minutes.

Notes

Leftover apples bars should be stored in an airtight container, and will be good for three days.
Keyword Apple, Brown Butter, Pie Bars