I’ve long since lost my copy of my aunt’s recipe, but I’ve never lost that nostalgia that came along with them. And so I made it my mission this summer to embark on recreating my favorite summer time dessert. This isn’t her exact recipe- I’m sure if she sees this, she’ll send it to me- which would be fantastic- but, I think these are pretty close. I’ve added a tiny twist that occurred out of pure serendipity.
Rustic to the eye, crowd-pleasing, and ready for action in an hour’s time, here are
Jenny’s Cinnamon Pecan Apple Pie Bars
For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup shortening (Note: You can use butter here, but the shortening really helps with the flakiness)
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk ( Note: Keep the separate egg white for later on!)
2/3 cup milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups crushed Special K Cinnamon Pecan Cereal (Note: You can substitute crushed corn flakes)
Combine all of the ingredients except for the crushed cereal. You can do this by either using the tools God gave you, like I do (otherwise known as your hands), or a food processor. Take half, form it into a big round, and flour up either a super huge cutting board, or your counter top. I opted for counter top. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/8th and will fill the bottom of a GREASED 10 1/2 by 15 1/2 cookie sheet. You know, the big ones that have a little lip on all sides. (I think Ina Garten calls these a Jelly Roll Pan? I don’t know- a big ass cookie sheet is what I call it. Very technical.) Once it’s rolled out and covering the bottom of your greased sheet, you’ll sprinkle the crushed cereal onto it. Here’s where my fortunate moment of serendipity occurred. I don’t keep straight up corn flakes in my pantry. I never really use them, so I was stuck with a bit of a problem to solve. Enter the Special K Cinnamon Pecan cereal. I always have it on hand because I love it for breakfast, and I figured.. cinnamon and pecans, yep, that will work with apples. So I went for it- and let me tell you, it just added an extra little pop of delightful. If that doesn’t sound like your thing- no worries, go ahead and forge onward with the cornflakes.
6 tart apples (peeled, cored, sliced- I like Granny Smiths, but use your fave)
1 cup of white granulated sugar
Toss it all together, and spread it over the crust.
For me, the easy version was to roll out my dough, and then use a pizza cutter to cut it into thin strips. Once I had my dough in thin strips, I created a loose basket weave type top for my bars that essentially made little squares. Perfect, since I cut them anyway. Once the top layer is on your apples, whip up that left over egg white with a fork, and brush it over the top layer. This will create a beautiful golden color on your crust as it bakes.
Once your bars are done, and out of the oven, you can either wait to drizzle your icing, or just go for it and dive in. I usually just dive in because I am not a patient person, especially when dessert is involved. I take big spoonfuls and run the spoon back and forth to drizzle icing all over. As the bars cool, the icing will harden up, and just be lovely.
Cut into servings as desired. They are great just like this, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. They are also fantastic when warmed up for breakfast. Be warned though- while it looks like a large tray of these, they’ll go quick!
Until next time,
In my oven tonight: Crab Stuffed Tilapia- stay tuned for the recipe!