From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a nice treat to serve with coffee or tea and, unlike many apple desserts or snacks, you'll find that these squares travel well. That makes them a perfect candidate for a morning meeting or an evening pot luck supper. The squares are like an apple slice, but they have a firm bottom and are less sweet. The squares, which can be eaten out of hand, are a cross between a cake and a cookie and those of you who like natural apple flavor will enjoy the simplicity of this treat. The cake/cookie has a buttery base and a layer of apples that are covered with apricot jam and topped with a thick layer of crumbs. The recipe appeared in Family Circle magazine and the first time I made the squares I thought they needed a bit of a flavor boost. I increased the amount of salt used in the cookie base and doubled the amount of preserves used to brush the apples. I also played a bit with the extracts and the amount of pie spice used in the recipe. This is a very simple and homely dessert. If you like streusel and apples, chances are you'll enjoy these squares, They are fast and easy to make. I do not think they are particularly good keepers, but if they are stored in an airtight container dessert they will last for a day or two. They tend to get soggy as they age. Here's how they are made.
Apple Crumb Squares...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Family Circle magazine
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 to 1/2 cup apricot preserves, melted and strained
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin or apple pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2) Beat together butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in almond and vanilla extracts. On low speed, beat in flour and salt until just blended. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
3) Fan apple slices over top, then brush with preserves. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.
4) To make crumb topping: Whisk together flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir in the butter until mixture is moistened and clumps together. Sprinkle evenly over cake. Bake for an additional 35 minutes. Remove pan to wire rack; cool completely.
5) Dust with confectioners sugar and cut into 24 squares.
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