Apple Pie Bars

So, there’s this apple tree in the front yard of the new house. Well, it’s really more like it’s in the backyard of the commercial property in front of us that a dog groomer rents…but no one else wants them, so they’re as good as mine!  It’s a huge Granny Smith tree, and it produced a hefty harvest of baseball-sized apples this Fall. The boys have been having such fun plucking apples off the tree to enjoy.

They’ve got unbeatable flavor too – tart and fruity, but much sweeter than the traditional Granny Smith you pick up in the supermarket. Almost pear-like qualities in the flavor. They are out of this world good, just simply enjoyed alone. But you know I couldn’t resist wrapping them up in some form of dough and baking!

So without further adieu, I give you these apple pie bars. It’s pretty much an apple pie, in a much more portable format. Basic pie dough is rolled out into a rectangle, filled with peeled apples that have been flavored with brown sugar and cinnamon, then topped with another rectangle of pie dough and baked. After cooling they’re sliced into perfect squares and drizzled with a simple vanilla glaze. Perfect for a tailgating treat!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! My BFF and I are heading to the mountains (we’re 6-inches above sea level here, my ears are already popping!) this afternoon to visit Thurmont, MD and the Catoctin Colorfest tomorrow. I used to go all the time as a little girl, and we went last year – so it’s kind of a reinstated tradition for me. Tons of craft vendors, local churches with their kitchens set up selling various regional foods, apple orchards and fresh pressed cider. It’s alot of fun, and it’s going to be great to have some girl time. Although, I’m worried about missing my boys! Isn’t it funny how we look forward to getting away – then when we do, we can’t wait to get back? Heh. Wish me luck, guys!

Apple Pie Bars

2 9-inch pie dough rounds (click for recipe)
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 lbs Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium)
1 lb Honeycrisp apples (about 2 medium)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg white
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp half and half or milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel, core and dice apples into thin and small pieces. Place diced apples in a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla and toss apples to evenly coat. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, granulated sugar, light-brown sugar, 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour flour mixture over apple mixture and toss to evenly coat, set aside.

To assemble, roll one portion of your dough into a 13×9 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Lift rolled dough into an ungreased 13×9 inch baking dish. Toss apple mixture once more and pour into baking dish over pie crust. Roll remaining dough into another 13×9-inch rectangle and place rolled dough over apples, pinching the seam together with the bottom piece of dough.

In a small mixing bowl whisk egg white, and brush over top pie crust evenly. In a separate small mixing bowl whisk together 1 Tbsp sugar with 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over top pie crust.

Bake in preheated oven around 50-60 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 1 hour before cutting.

To make the glaze combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the bars with a spoon.

Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: adapted from Cooking Classy

Caramel Pumpkin BlondiesWell, it’s official. Fall is finally here. So, in true food blogger fashion I wanted to celebrate by sharing my first pumpkin recipe with you guys for the year! I came across these Caramel Pumpkin Blondies on Pinterest a couple weeks ago, and pretty much had to have them going into my mouth immediately once I saw them.

A basic blondie batter is loaded with pumpkin puree, then studded with white chocolate, dark chocolate, and toffee pieces. Then a swirl of caramel sauce is layered into the blondies before being baked to perfection.

They turned out a little fluffier and more cake-like than most blondies I’ve had, but I think I liked it better. Dense and moist, yet light and fluffy too – this cake has all the flavors of fall that I adore. Cinnamon, pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg, caramel…what’s not to love?

Do yourself a favor and make these soon. I can’t think of a more perfect way to welcome autumn into our kitchens!

Source: adapted from Taste and Tell

Under The Sea Cupcakes

Now that all the little ones are back to school, I thought it would be appropriate to share this fun kid-friendly treat. Aren’t they adorable? I made them a few months ago for my girlfriend’s baby shower, which had an “Under the Sea” theme, and they were really a hit.

I tinted my standard buttercream frosting in hues of light blue and green, and piped on with a Wilton 2D tip to create sea-colored waves on the cupcake. Then I topped them with Swedish Fish, and a few stalks of green and yellow colored sour straws for seaweed.

I ended up finding the sour straws at my local Dollar Tree, as they have the best selection of just about everything when it comes to candy. I was able to find a multi-pack that had hues of greens, yellow, and dark blue that worked out perfectly.

Use whatever flavor of cupcake you like, I stuck with the classics – chocolate and vanilla. These turned out so great, and were so well received that I’m already looking forward to making them again. Would be a great treat to send in with your little one to celebrate their birthday with their classmates.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tropical Lemon Curd Bars

There is just something about lemon flavored desserts. I don’t know whether it’s their bright yellow hue, or their tart flavor that makes you pucker – but they’ve always been a favorite of mine. My great aunt always made a really good lemon bar, and these definitely reminded me of them. But with wonderful tropical flavor from the addition of toasted coconut on top instead of powdered sugar.

A basic bar dough is pressed into the bottom of the pan, then it’s filled with a rich fresh lemon curd and topped with a combination of almonds and coconut. The almonds give it wonderful crunch that was great next to the softness of the lemon filling.

I happened to have some of the larger dried coconut shreds, so I used those and they really held up well here. I’d suggest looking for those if you can find them. I’m usually able to find them in natural food stores, or if you’re feeling ambitious – make your own!

Source: adapted from Taste of Home via Oh Sweet Basil