Thursday, December 2
Dear summer, It's been fun but I think it's time to let go and start seeing other seasons and countries. This just isn't a healthy relationship anymore. You're always giving me the silent treatment, I'm always angry...still trying to make you happy by wearing the flip-flops and shorts that brought us so many great times. So please, go do your thing at the other end of the equator, and I'll begin to move on. Fall looks interested, and I've had a few random reminders from the mysteriously aloof Winter that he'll be in town shortly. Let's just make this a smooth, drama-free, break. We'll see how we feel in six months.
Your fickle, fair-weather friend, Valerie.♥
That was awkward. Now I can describe these very Autumn-themed bars! If someone were to cast a large net over the Fall season in the hopes of capturing it's warm, spicy, mildly-sweet flavours and placing them into one single dessert, this is what it would taste like. These bars have everything but the caramel...something I may need to fix if I make them again. The crust and topping are simply made with butter, cinnamon, oatmeal, and brown sugar. Taking center stage are some chopped apples, toffee bits, and chopped chocolate. And, just because I miss it, I added the zest of one lemon. These are soft, crunchy, moist, fruity, and spicy all at the same time! Plus they're easy to put together and versatile enough that you can add just about anything you have in your cupboard.
Apple Toffee Cinnamon-Streusel Bars
Base and Streusel ingredients
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups of rolled oats
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar (light or dark)
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into bits and at room temperature
2 1/2 cups of apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 3 medium-sized apples)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Zest of one lemon (optional)
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of toffee bits
1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate (you can use chocolate chips too.)
2/3 cup of powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon of cream
Splash of pure almond extract
Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, and lightly spray. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Prepare the base: In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups of flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together to combine. Add the cut-up butter and, using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside about 1 1/4 cups of the mixture to use for the topping.
Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just until it sets.
Meanwhile prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the eggs, lemon zest (if using) and sugar. Whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the 2 Tablespoons of flour, baking powder and salt. Using a large spatula, stir in the chopped apples, toffee, and chocolate.
Carefully spread the filling evenly over the hot crust, making sure it reaches the corners. Sprinkle the remaining base mixture over the apple mixture.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until light, golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool completely before adding the glaze.
Prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, cream, and almond extract. Mix together until smooth and runny. If it's very thick, add a bit more cream (just about 1/4 of a teaspoon) until you reach the right consistency. Using a fork or whisk, drizzle the glaze over the cool bars.
Makes about 28-30 bars.