In honor of my mom coming to visit (and the fact I couldn't make it down to Chicago for her birthday), I decided to make a celebratory treat that would be easy, yummy, and appealed to Mom's taste buds. Mom claims she's not picky, but having grown up a baker's daughter adds tons of pressure on my amateur baking skills. Since I avoid chocolate unless I have the odd craving and because I knew Mom loves apple-cinnamon anything, these bars sounded PERFECT.
I got the recipe from Erica's Sweet Tooth and made a couple slight adjustments. Very slight. Accidentally. I also took pictures of the process because I'm a goober and like visual aids when giving a presentation.
First, whenever attempting a new recipe or complicated cooking, gather all ingredients and tools before beginning. Yes that's a Mickey Mouse spatula and yes, that's my iPod. No I did not bake it. I find good music essential for good baking. This dish pairs nicely with the album "Follow Me Down" by Sarah Jarosz.
You have to peel, core, and slice the apples and as I do not own a device that does all three at once, I peeled them by hand-- check out my uber long strip (I'm especially proud since this was my first time ever peeling apples. Not too shabby.)
Can you smell the cinnamon?! A perfect answer to canned apple pie filling.
The recipe requires you to mix the flour, sugar, 1/2 cup of butter with a pastry cutter (???) or two forks until the dough has the consistency of bread crumbs. This is what it looks like for reference.
While the dough is baking, prep the fillings: apples, jam... or in my case cherry preserves (I'll get to that later), and the brown sugar streusel (it looks like the dough but I dug my hands in that time and tried to get bigger clumps).
These look more like cherry bars but I promise there's plenty of apples and cinnamon.
Hodge Podge Tips:
- Double the cinnamon from Erica's recipe. I actually used 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 cinnamon spice blend from Williams-Sonoma.
- Pick any apple you want. I chose Granny Smith since they're used for baking pies.
- Note: the recipe calls for JAM not preserves. Apparently there's a big difference that hadn't registered in my brain plus I had a coupon for preserves not jam. So there. If you do "pull a Jamie" (that's my name, Peeps), go ahead and use the preserves, they still taste good.
- I'd recommend picking a jam flavor that pairs well with apples, such as plum, strawberry, or cherry. I especially like the idea of apples and cherries as I hail from northern Wisconsin where apple and cherry picking are prime for the autumn.
- Next time I think I will add more brown sugar to the streusel.