Apple Butter Crumble Bars have a cinnamon and oat crumble top and base with a homemade apple butter filling and sliced apple pieces covered in cinnamon and maple syrup for the ultimate apple crumble slice.
I have only recently been introduced to the concept of apple butter. I believe it is more of an American thing but once I saw it on Half Baked Harvest, I just knew I had to see what all the fuss was about.
What is Apple Butter?
Apple butter is apples cooked down with a mixture of sugar and spices until it turns into a ‘butter’ or jam like consistency. Some recipes I found required a slow cooker and some had more sugar than apples for more of an apple jam. I decided to create a ‘cheats’ apple butter recipe that doesn’t require a slow cooker or copious amounts of sugar. This is a simple, straightforward recipe that is a variation from traditional apple butter recipes.
How to Make Apple Butter
Apple butter starts with – you guessed it – apples. Lot’s of apples. We need or around about 8 apples. As for the type of apples, I say use whatever is in season. I went for Granny Smith as I like the tart, strong flavour but again it’s all personal preference or what apple is best at the particular time of year.
Slice the apples and place them in a heavy saucepan with apple cider vinegar (or apple juice), brown sugar and cinnamon. Allow them to cook down on a medium to high heat or until they are very soft. Around about twenty to thirty minutes.
The next step is optional.
You can blitz the softened apples until smooth or just let them cook down until they are mushy and smooth. I chose to blitz them as I am impatient and could not be bothered waiting.
You then return the apples to a low heat and allow the pulp to just gently cook and infuse the flavours together. Now, I only allowed them to cook for a further 30 minutes before removing from the heat. As I said, I’m impatient. However, I would recommend leaving them to cook for a further one to two hours to really let the apple infuse with the flavours, become really soft and sweet. Be sure to stir every so often so the apple don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
For this recipe, we use about half of the apple butter so the rest can be stored in the fridge or frozen for future use.
Apple butter isn’t the only apples we use in these apple butter crumble bars. No sirree.
For added texture and flavour we also used sliced granny smith apples. These cook in the oven but still retain a slight bite and chew after baking. With a mixture of maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract accompanying the apple, you know this filling is out of this world!
The crumble base and top is based off my vanilla, cinnamon, date bars. The crumble is rich and buttery, crumbly and full of spice. The only difference is we bake the base first as apples have more water content so we want the base nice and crunchy to help withstand the moisture. The topping also gets chopped pecans to the mix as pecans are the best and just add the much needed nuttiness to these bars.
If you make these Apple Butter Crumble Bars, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love hearing from you all and hearing you love my recipes. Remember if you make this or any of my other recipes to #lightscamerabake on Instagram for a chance to be featured!
Apple Butter Crumble Bars
- 1.4 kg Apples (3 pounds) (Aorund about 8 apples)
- 2/3 Cups Brown Sugar (130g)
- 3 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp All Spice
- 3/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar (Apple Juice)
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (Optional)
- 1 Cup Butter, Softened (220g)
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar (180g)
- 1 and 1/4 Cups Old Fashioned Oats (110g)
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 and 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour (180g)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 3/4 Cup Pecans, Chopped (95g)
- 1 Cup Apple Butter
- 2 Granny Smith Apples, Sliced Thinly
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup (85g)
- 2 ts Vanilla Essence
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour (15g)
- Core and chop the apples. Add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, apple cider vinegar, water and vanilla extract to a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat over a medium heat until the apples are very soft, about 20-30 minutes.
- Using a stick blender, puree the apple mixture. Alternatively, transfer the mixture to a regular blender and puree.
- Cook over a low heat until you have the desired, thick consistency. I cooked them for a further 15 minutes but it may take longer or less depending on your stove top.
- Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease or line a 9"x13" baking tin with baking paper.
- Beat the butter and brown sugar until they are combined but there are still lumps of butter present.
- Add the flour, oats, cinnamon and baking powder.
- Mix together with your hands until the mixture is nice and crumbly.
- Spread ½ to 2/3 of the mixture evenly over the baking tray.
- Place in the oven for 10 minutes and prepare the filling.
- Place the chopped apples, vanilla extract, maple syrup, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and mix together.
- Spread the apple butter over the cooked base.
- Place over the sliced apple mixture in an even layer.
- Mix the chopped pecans through the remaining crumble and sprinkle over the apples.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until it is nice and golden on the top.
- Allow it to cool completely before slicing it into bars.