Apple Almond Bars
Poles, along with most other Eastern Europeans, have traditional pastries for special holy days. Among the Easter delicacies are various fruit and nut bars. This scrumptious apple bar, made with almonds and cream cheese, never lasted long on my paternal grandmother's table. They are great any day of the year it doesn't have to be a holiday for you to enjoy them.
"These are almost like a simpler version of homemade apple pies, just in bar form. They are delicious, and relatively easy to make. Thanks for posting."- pineapplebutter
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|1 1/4 cupunbleached all purpose flour|
|1/2 teaspoonkosher salt; (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)|
|3 ouncescream cheese; softened, at room temperature|
|2 ouncesunsalted butter; (4 tbsp), softened, at room temperature|
|1/4 teaspoonpure almond extract|
|1/4 teaspoonPure vanilla extract|
|1/4 cupGranulated sugar|
|1/4 cupLight brown sugar|
|1/3 cupalmonds; finely chopped|
|2/3 cupreserved crust mixture|
|2 tablespoonsunbleached all purpose flour|
|2 tablespoonsGranulated sugar|
|2 tablespoonsLight brown sugar|
|1/4 cupalmonds; coarsely chopped|
|5 ouncescream cheese; softened, at room temperature|
|1/2 cupgranulated sugar; as required|
|1 tablespoonlemon juice; freshly squeezed, plus 1 tbsp to mix with apples|
|1 pinch ofSalt|
|1 poundGranny Smith apples; (2 to 3 medium), peeled, cored & cut into thin slices|
Apple Almond Bars Preparation
Peel, core and thinly slice apples. In a medium bowl, mix sliced apples with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1-2 tablespoons sugar, tossing to coat. Cover and set aside until needed.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x9-inch square baking pan, line with parchment, and butter the parchment.
To make the crust: Sift together the flour and salt, and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the almond and vanilla extracts and beat on medium until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium speed until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
On low speed, mix in the flour-salt mixture and the 1/3 cup of finely chopped almonds just until the dough comes together. It should be crumbly.
Reserve about 2/3 cup of the crust mixture (for the topping). Press the remaining dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Blind bake until light golden, about 16-18 minutes. Remove crust from the oven.
To make the topping: While the crust bakes, make the topping by adding the flour, granulated and brown sugars to the reserved dough. Mix until well combined. It should be crumbly. Set aside topping and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds while you make the filling.
To make the filling: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, lemon juice and salt until well mixed.
To assemble: Arrange the apple slices over your baked crust. Pour the cream cheese filling over the apples and gently spread the filling to cover. Crumble the topping over the filling. Sprinkle with the almonds.
Bake until light golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Let the bars cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack before cutting.
Makes one 9x9-inch square pan, or twelve 2 1/4 - by 3-inch bars.
These bars are also great reheated, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum!
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