I wait all year to make these bars. I’m not sure why since they would be great any time of year but they just sort of epitomize fall for me. Matilda and I met my sister and kids at the apple orchard the other week; we pulled the kids in a wagon out to the field to pick a bag of apples (Macintosh and Cortland’s, if I remember correctly), checked out the pumpkins, visited the animals and picked up some cider. It was a blast! New England sure knows how to do fall right.
Sampling the goods
Now, back to the apple squares. Think thin, flaky crust stuffed with sweet, cinnamon-y apples and drizzled with a tart lemon glaze. You’re right…it doesn’t get any better than that. The dough is a little tricky to work with but it’s well worth a few holes and not-so-perfect edges. I always say that I’m going to experiment with different ratios for the crust the next time I make it but then never do…because it’s just delicious as it is, holes and all.
glazed apple squares
for the crust
- 2 1/2 cups flour (plus more as needed)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 egg, separated
- about 2/3 cup milk
for the filling
- 2/3 cup crushed cornflakes
- 8 cups sliced apples, any variety (about 10 medium apples, sliced 1/4” thick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
for the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
To make the dough, whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening. Put the egg yolk into a measuring cup and beat slightly. Add enough milk to make 2/3 cup and add to the flour mixture. Combine until a dough forms but be careful not to over mix. Cover and chill for 2-3 hours.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 400°F. Divide the dough into two equal portions and flour your workspace. Roll out one piece of your dough to fit a jellyroll pan (11”x15”). This dough is a bit tricky to work with so add some more flour if it’s really sticky; you don’t want to add too much flour, though, or it won’t be as flaky. Mine usually has some tears in it and doesn’t completely fill the pan but it still tastes delicious, I promise. Place the dough in your pan (use parchment paper if you want; I used a stone pan and didn’t have any sticking issues).
Coat the bottom crust with the crushed cornflakes and spread the sliced apples on top in an even layer. Sprinkle the cup of sugar and the cinnamon over the top. Roll out the other half of the dough and lay over the top. Again, you’ll probably have some tears and it won’t fit perfectly but it’s alright. Beat the egg white until foamy and brush lightly over the crust. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
While it’s baking, make your glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar and enough lemon juice until you reach a pourable consistency. Once the apple squares are done baking, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and then drizzle on the glaze (if you do it while they are still piping hot the glaze will melt into the crust).
Serve warm or cold, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. It makes a lot so share with friends or you’ll probably eat them all yourself. Not that I know this from experience or anything…
Source: from an old family cookbook
Some in-the-process photos and notes:
Dough ready for chilling…remember not to work it too much; the pockets of shortening create the flakiness.
When your sprinkling the sugar on it will seem like a lot but it’s needed to balance out the tart apples. The crust isn’t really sweet at all so it’s the perfect balance.
Perfectly imperfect…it all gets covered up with the glaze anyway.
The glaze will have a really strong lemon flavor on it’s own but once it’s on the bars you don’t really taste the lemon at all…at least I don’t!