These easy apple-cinnamon fruit bars make a big batch—perfect for fall potlucks and parties.
EatingWell Test Kitchen
Used by permission. (c) Eating Well, Inc.
|1 cup chopped nuts, (walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts) or old-fashioned rolled oats, divided||2 tablespoons canola oil|
|3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, (see Note)||1 teaspoon vanilla extract|
|3/4 cup all-purpose flour||1/4 teaspoon almond extract|
|1 cup sugar||6 cups diced peeled apples, divided|
|1/2 teaspoon salt||1/2 cup apple cider, or orange juice|
|4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces||1/4 cup cornstarch|
|1 large egg||1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon|
To prepare crust: Combine 3/4 cup nuts (or oats), whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until well incorporated.
Whisk egg, oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla and almond extract in a small bowl. With the motor running, add the mixture to the food processor. Process, then pulse, scraping down the sides, if necessary, until the mixture begins to clump, 30 to 45 seconds (it will look crumbly). Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and combine in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup chopped nuts (or oats). Set aside for the topping.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
To prepare fruit filling & assemble bars: Combine 4 cups apples, cider (or orange juice), remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 cups apples, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom to form a crust. Spread the fruit filling over the crust.. Sprinkle the reserved topping over the filling.
Bake the bars for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and bake until the crust and topping are lightly brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let cool completely before cutting into bars, at least 1 1/2 hours.
Tip: Lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft wheat and has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.
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