Spiced Apples & Cream Crumb Bars

Spiced Apples & Cream Crumb Bars

Our layered Spiced Apples & Cream Crumb Bars are brought to new levels of creaminess with sweetened condensed milk. Lending a harmonious balance of sweet and sour, Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples pair idyllically with apple pie spice, which adds a warm and fragrant aroma.

Spiced Apples & Cream Crumb Bars
 
Makes 9 bars
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, room temperature (see Note)
  • ⅔ cup (200 grams) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1⅔ cups (208 grams) plus ¼ cup (31 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) fresh lemon juice, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 large egg yolks (37 grams), room temperature
  • ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅔ cup (65 grams) quick-cooking oats
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon apple pie spice
  • Spiced Apple Filling (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add condensed milk, ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon (3 grams) salt, and 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla; beat at medium speed just until combined, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Beat in egg yolks just until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, melted butter, and remaining 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, baking powder, pie spice, remaining 1⅔ cups (208 grams) flour, and remaining 1 teaspoon (3 grams) salt. Gradually stir oat mixture into sugar mixture until combined. Press 1¼ cups (344 grams) sugar mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
  5. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is dry, lightly golden, and just set, 18 to 24 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Leave oven on.
  6. Spread cream cheese mixture onto prepared crust; spoon Spiced Apple Filling on top. Crumble remaining sugar mixture in large clumps over filling, leaving a bit of filling exposed.
  7. Bake until topping is light golden brown and set, 30 to 38 minutes, loosely covering with foil during last 4 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Refrigerate in pan, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  8. Using excess parchment, remove from pan, and cut into bars; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
Notes
Cold cream cheese can result in a lumpy filling. Be sure your cream cheese is room temperature; at this point, it will be soft enough to easily beat until smooth and creamy.

Spiced Apple Filling
 
Makes about 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2⅔ cups (336 grams) ¾- to 1-inch-chopped peeled Pink Lady apples
  • 2 cups (260 grams) ¾- to 1-inch-chopped peeled Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) apple pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (8 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup (80 grams) water
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together apples, sugars, pie spice, and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cornstarch.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add apple mixture and ⅓ cup (80 grams) water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook, stirring frequently, until apples are just softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has thickened and reduced and apples are very soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
  4. Transfer apple mixture to prepared pan, spreading into a thin layer. Let cool completely, 30 to 40 minutes.

 

 

2 COMMENTS

    • Hi Lori,

      What a wonderful question – thank you so much for asking! Although we haven’t tested this recipe with other fruits, pears or peaches could work incredibly well with this recipe. However, it is worth noting that peaches often have a higher water content than apples, so you might need to add extra cornstarch to the filling mixture in order to keep it from getting too loose or liquidy. And, if you get a chance to try them with a different fruit, please let us know how they turn out!

      Happy Baking!

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