The combination of apples and cinnamon is the quintessential taste of fall. So welcome cooler days with these easy to make Apple Cinnamon Bars. With their brownie-like texture on the outside, and layer of cinnamon apples in the center, they are especially delicious with a drizzle of brown butter icing over their walnut topping. Take them along with some apple cider for all your fall activities or simply enjoy at home. Be sure to use a piece of parchment longer than the pan to create “handles” for easy removal before cutting.
2 medium apples, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1/2 cup butter, plus one tablespoon, divided, plus more for the pan
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup Walnuts, toasted
Brown Butter Icing
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease with softened butter an 8-by-8-inch pan, add parchment paper then grease the parchment and set aside.
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, stir in 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, cinnamon and then add the sliced apples. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until apples are softened. Set aside to cool slightly.
Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a sauce pan, cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the 1-1/2 cup of brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla, mixing until blended. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to brown sugar mixture.
Add 1/2 the batter to the baking pan, smooth the top. Add the apples in a single layer, scraping all the cinnamon sauce out of the pan over the apples. Add the rest of the batter over the apples and smooth again. Top with the walnuts, lightly pressing them into the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.
To make the icing – melt the butter and cook until it becomes a nutty brown color. Strain the butter through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl leaving the dark sediment behind in the strainer; discard the sediment. Add the powder sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk, whisking until very to smooth. If the icing is too thick to drizzle, add the other tablespoon of milk. Using a fork, drizzle the icing over the bars, then refrigerate allowing the icing to set up and the bars to cut easier. Lift out of the pan using the parchment paper, place on a cutting board, and slice into 16 squares.