Friday, September 26, 2008

Brown Sugar and Oatmeal Crumbly Apple Bars

As much as I love the Legend of Johnny Appleseed, it always bothered me-even when I was young-that he wore his cooking pot on his head. Somehow, that just didn't seem like the cleanest place to put the pot you'd be cooking in. Did he even get to wash his hair with real shampoo in the unsettled West? I'm sure he worked up a hot-headed sweat planting apple seeds all day. And even when he crooned about all the lovely things he'd be making with those red delicious apples, all I could think about was if he was planning to make them in his hairy pot. When I taught first grade, my fellow teacher friend dressed up as Johnny Appleseed for the Halloween parade. On her head, she wore a cooking pot, which besides being uncomfortable for her all day, also cemented the notion of never ever being able to come over to her house for dinner.

It's Johnny's birthday this week, and even if he had a dirty pot head, it's still worth recognizing. Especially since it's a great excuse to bake some cinnamony apple treats. And you must must must make these bars. They come from cooking contest friend, Anna at Cookie Madness, who included them on her Top Ten list for Fall. With a sweet creamy apple layer and a crumbly oat and brown sugar crust and topping, they are without a doubt the best apple bar I have ever tasted. Good ol' Mr. Appleseed would have loved this one.
Money Saving Tips: I've always used whatever apples I have on hand and even the non-baking varieties have worked out very well, so use whatever you can get for a good price.
Brown Sugar and Oatmeal Crumbly Apple Bars
Estimated Cost: $4.00 for 12 bars
Notes: I love these warm out of the oven, but they hold together much better if you wait till they're cool.
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used half whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon soda
3/8 tsp salt
10 tablespoons cold butter, divided
3 small apples, cored, unpeeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a nine inch square pan with foil. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, soda, and salt. Cut in 9 tablespoons butter. (This can also be done in a food processor.) Reserve 3/4 cup and pat the rest into prepared pan. It will be dry. Toss apples with half of lemon juice and arrange over crust in pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and hot water. Turn heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly until mixture begins to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, remaining 1 tablespoon butter and remaining teaspoon of lemon juice. Pour over apples. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture and pecans, if using. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Next Up:
Corniest Corn Muffins

68 comments:

Patsyk said...

You just brought back memories for me with the mention of Johnny Appleseed! We had the story on old 78 records and I would listen to it over and over again. Wow! I hadn't thought about that story in AGES!

Those bars look incredible... and I know at least one little man who would devour them soon as they come out of the oven - if I'd let him!

Lisa said...

I agree about the pot on his head:)

Wonderful looking bars. We will be apple picking in the next few days and I can't wait to bake!

Mary said...

Boy, these look good! I'm really tempted.

Katherine Aucoin said...

If you say I must, then I must! Prudy your bars look fabulous!

VeggieGirl said...

Haha, I agree - why DID he have that pot on his head?!?!

SCRUMPTIOUS BARS!!!! Oh my goodness gracious.

alexandra's kitchen said...

yes, a pot on the head seems a bit unsanitary. anyway, these look amazing. it looks like they're oozing with chocolate or caramel or coconut or something, but there is no such ingredient on the list. they are oozing with goodness, perhaps!

Mandy said...

I agree that I "must must" make these! Thanks for the post and yummy looking pictures!

Mandy

gigi said...

I've known a few 'dirty pot heads' in my life and I agree, I'd never eat anything they cooked, hehe!
But your apple crumb bars look wonderful, I think I can smell cinnamon right threw my screen!

Since you said, "If I could only have one baking book, this would be it. Period." about Dorie Greenspans book. And I didn't win your contest :)I thought that I must have it too! So I ordered it used from Amazon! It came yesterday! That book is hooge! and of course wonderful. Amazon lied and said it was a 'used book' it looked like no one had ever even opened that book before. I believe it was brand new and I got it for $11.00 shipping and all. That's what I did all night last night was read that book and make a list of things I wanted to bake! Thank you for the recomendation, it's a good one. Happy Friday to you and yours!

Deborah said...

Yay for fall and apple season! These look amazing!

Kimi said...

Ha! I loved the book cover. Have you read, "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan? You would love the chapter on the apple and the JA "real story"!

Bridgett said...

I used to have stacks of those little golden books! My favorite was the poky little puppy, he was too cute. I think my hubby would swoon if I made these bards for him. I bet they filled the house with that fantastic smell while baking. I love that part!

The Blonde Duck said...

Oh Prudy. I love you. And I love your brown sugar and apple oatmeal bars. Ben can kiss my grits about his diet. I HAVE to make these.

I'm drooling in anticipation.

Maria said...

I remember learing about Johnny in grade school! Happy Birthday to him!
These bars look fabulous! All my favs in one dessert!!

Marie said...

These look delicious Erin! Onto my must make list they go. We are surrounded by orchards here at the cottage and I just know my Todd would love these. I loved that Johnny Appleseed cartoon when I was a girl, even if he did have a pot on his head! I didn't care. I Loved the music and the story and I wanted to be able to travel across American like he did spreading his apple goodness as he went! I know . . . yes, I WAS a wierd kid!

Sara said...

These look so appetizing, and a great comfort dessert for a chilly fall day! You are probably roasting down south. We've got to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts! Thanks for the Apple Bars. I will make them soon. Johnny Appleseed would be proud!

Candy said...

Yum! Johnny was one of my favorites when I taught kindergarten. We always made apple turnovers. (I keep getting busted at work when your music comes on!)

Marjie said...

The pot on his head is a good point! I too use any apples which are handy. I love apple dishes, and this looks really good!

The Food Librarian said...

Thanks for sharing this fun recipe. I have got to try it! And your post about the pot made me laugh!!! :)

Leslie said...

LOL..your too funny!I never noticed the pot on his head!! Nasty little boy!

Catherine said...

I love Johnny Appleseed! I checked out the video from the library 3 weeks ago to make sure I would have it on his birtday.

The pot on his head always bothered me too. But only because it looked so uncomfortable!

These apple bars look so deliciuos! We're going apple picking tommorow to celebrate J.A.'s birthday. I keep running through the song, "apple pies and apple fritters . . ." You know the one where they say all the things you can make with apples. Well anyway, I'll have to add these apple bars to the list!

We made your M&M cookies last night, in honor of the office season premier. They were delicious. And we just bought whoppers, so we can try your whopper cookies tonight.

Thanks for sharing all of your delicious recipes!

Mary Ann said...

That is so pretty with all the different colors of apples! Totally reminds me of beautiful leaves. These are a must try, I know we would absolutely love them!

Satisfying my Sweet Tooth said...

I'm totally sold! Can't wait to make these!

Katrina said...

I just made these apple bars from Anna's Cookie Madness site yesterday and they were awesome! I haven't posted about them yet, but will be for sure. Great fall dessert! We ate them chilled, but can't wait to try them sometime warm with some vanilla ice cream. I also used some whole wheat flour and I put four thin sliced apples inside.

Cathy said...

Johnny Appleseed -- now there's a blast from the past! I know these will be a huge hit around here. I'm making 'em!

1freshstart said...

I don't think anyone ever read me Johnny Appleseed. That's cute!

The bars look unbelievably good! I might have to make them tonight. We'll see... too much happening tonight!

~Cat

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Yummy yummy yummy, I've got apple love on my tummy! If it made Anna's top 10 I'm sure it's good!

Aggie said...

My kids will love these. I will love these. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe Prudy! Have a nice weekend!

Elizabeth said...

My Kindergartner had Johnny Appleseed Day at school today. He made a pot hat. He now loves Johnny Appleseed. I'll have to make him this apple treat.

Esi said...

I love how you were so disturbed by not only the pot on Johnny's head, but the pot on your coworkers head as well. Hilarious!

Emiline said...

I haven't thought about Johnny Appleseed in years! Yeah, that is gross that he wore his pot on his head. He probably had lice!

These are on my list to try! The way you rave about them is persuasive.

Andrea said...

These look soooo good and so simple to make. I'll have to add it to my list for next week.
I really enjoy your recipes and stories! I look forward to checking in often.

andrea in whittier

CECIL said...

Oatmeal with apple is one of my favorite breakfast item. Adding the 'crumbly' - I am just in heaven!! :)

Debinhawaii said...

Love the look of these bars---I love apple anything. Another great fall treat. You are right--Johnny's hair and head could not have been too clean!

Natashya said...

I really love apple desserts, the bars look great. They have the added bonus of having enough healthy ingredients that I can rationalize having them for breakfast!

Jacque said...

Oooh, nummers! Everything I love, in one fantastic looking dessert. Gotta put this on the "to bake" list!

Jen H. said...

I just started to make this recipe. I'm stuck at the soda. There's no soda listed in the ingredients, but in the directions you talk about mixing soda in with the other ingredients. ?? How much soda?

Amy said...

PRUDY!!! You have done it again!!! What are you going to come up with next?? Lordy..Lordy... apple heaven here I come! Woo weee!! Love it!! Keep them yummy recipes coming! Wow!

Pam said...

Looks great. I love the crumbly top - it's the best!

The pot on the head was pretty gross to me too.

Prudy said...

Jen H:
My deepest apologies! It is 1/2 teaspoon soda; I've just fixed the recipe. I hope this didn't cause a tremendous problem for you. Let me know and I will mail you the cost of the ingredients if it was a problem. So so sorry!

Jen H. said...

Oh good! I guessed 1/2 t. So I got it right. I've just about got the kids in bed, so I will sample it soon....

Erin said...

These look fabulous! I love apples baked in pretty much anything! The addition of oatmeal sounds delicious too :)

Dee said...

Priceless, Prudy!
And the brown sugar oatmeal apple bar recipe is perfect for the kid's lunchbox - gotta give those banana muffins a break. I'm not sure we have specific cooking apples here, so I've always just bought whatever was on sale :)

Emily said...

Oh my gosh! I remember watching the Johny appleseed movie in the 2nd or 3rd grade! Everyone in class brought a treat from home made from apples! (Okay that was a little while back!) These bars looks super Yum-e! I could go for one now!

P.S. Prudy you asked about me speaking German and where I learned it etc. . . well I was an exchaneg student to Austria in High school (I LOVE Austria!) and I served an LDS mission to Germany! I loved both experiences and am so glad that I had both opportunities! Hence my love of German cuisine!

Girl Japan said...

I am so late on commenting , but it has been years since I ever even thought of the name "Johnny Apple Seed" I remember collecting the Disney books as a child thank you for the nostalgia, your post also brings back fond memories of me and mum and dad "apple picking" and mum in the kitchen making everything Apples-

Thank you for the wonderful memories you brought back and the delicious recipe you share with us!!!

Apples are SOOOOOOO expensive here but delish!

Beth said...

I made apple crumble bars recently and they were fab - Im going to try this recipe next time!! They look moreish

Marie said...

Hey Erin,
I live about 45 mins on the train outside of London. We are only 5 minutes from the train station. Let me know when you are going to be there via my e-mail and we'll see what we can come up with. I would very much LOVE to meet you! You are one of my favouritest of all people!

Tami said...

These bars look really good. Everyone in my family would enjoy them. My daughter has been studying apples in school and she loved your comments about Johnny Appleseed. ;)

Peter M said...

You know this recipe would have to be doubled...or tripled.

Gooey apples, cinnamon and pecans, I'll have these for brekkie.

Nickki said...

They look so yummy! I must try these soon. Really nice post :)

Dawn said...

When I first saw the picture of the Johnny Appleseed book it brought back a huge wave of memories. My great grandmother Mimi, used to read me that book. I loved it so much that I'd ask for it to be read over and over at bedtime. I loved how Johnny would walk through the perfect apple orchard, how I wanted to be just like him on an adventure.
Ok, I'm rambling on and on here, but wow what memories.
Anywho, the bars, of course came out perfect. Everything you make does my dear.

Prudy said...

we love you mom . mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! s. w.

Prudy said...

Hey Sailor-you little sabotageur! Thanks for the nice comment.:)

The Renouf Family said...

Delicious....I couldn't keep my hands off of these when you made them. I kept sneaking little pieces off while you were at church. I should apologize but it was sooo good that I can't. I loved every moment of it. I'll make them soon--but I promise not to cook in any pots that I also use as hats :)....

1215656559s20768 said...

Lol! Now that you mention it, it IS a little unsettling that someone would wear a pot on his head. Gross!

The apple bars are not gross, however; they look quite delicious.-Lorie

Katie said...

Mmm these bars sound great.

To answer your question, I don't usually use salad dressing. I have never liked it. Occasionally I'll use lemon or lime juice, but usually I rely on fresh fruit to give my salad some flavor.

Cynthia's Blog said...

Prudy, Thanks for the memories...and the recipe!

hot garlic said...

Okay, you're just hilarious. No wonder you are such a successful blogger, people are getting fed much more than food on here. I'm so glad you remembered the pot on his head, now that I think of it, is is just plain wrong. I was thinking more of comfort, as in metal wouldn't be that comfortable to wear, but you're right, the hygiene issues probably supersede that.

You had me at Brown Sugar. This looks delightful!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those bars look scrumptious! A wonderful fall treat!

Cheers,

Rosa

Grace said...

hilarious observation about mr appleseed. :)
meanwhile, it's a fact that i've never had an apple dessert that didn't make me extremely happy, and this would certainly be no exception. your bars look fantastic. :)

Lucy said...

Great looking bars.... anything apple is soooo good!!

Kevin said...

Those bars look so good!

Jaime said...

oooooh i so have to make those!! yum!

i never noticed that about the pot on his head ;)

Jess said...

I made these yesterday and they were fantastic...even though I forgot to add the last 1 TB butter in the sauce. Low-fat, then, right? I used local Macoun apples which are not usually baking apples, but worked really well in this recipe. Thanks for posting!

Jen H. said...

Fall is long gone, but I can't let go of these apple bars yet. I made them again last week. Thanks for my new favorite dessert recipe.

linda said...

My 8th grade teacher, Miss Ida Pauline Tautfest used to make a bar similar to yours. We were invited to her house every Friday night to play Bible Characters. She would serve us Johnny Appleseed Bars, as a refreshment. Can't wait to give your recipe a try!!! This was back in '67. Thanks for sharing your recipe!!

frederick said...

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frederick said...

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