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Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars

Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars – deliciously buttery shortbread with sweet apple filling and oat and almond crumble topping. My twist on a traditional apple pie.

It’s a no fuss easy apple traybake recipe that will soon become a favourite apple dessert. The perfect Autumn/Fall recipe, all the comfort of an apple pie but in a bar.

Easier to make than pastry, the shortbread base can even be prepared without rolling out. Simply press your shortbread dough into the baking tin.

A stack of apple shortbread bars with apples.

Follow that with apples softened in lemon juice and sugar before topping with oat and almond crumble.

Here at the Kitchen Shed, Autumn is always extra busy and, for me, exciting. Making sure we get the best out of nature’s harvest is the kind of challenge I relish.

Apple Shortbread Bar with a scoop of Ice Cream on a plate.

Plus, I love cooking with apples. Whether it’s Apple Frangipane Tart or Self Saucing Blackberry and Apple Pudding, apples mark the season for me.

Each year I make sure we have apples put aside for enough spicy apple chutney for the winter months.

A stack of apple shortbread on a slate board.

What equipment do I need ?

  • Optional – using a stand mixer or hand mixer means the shortbread is even easier to make. I used my Kitchen Aid.
  • Equally, a wooden spoon will do the job nicely.
  • A lined shallow baking tin 30 cm x 23 cm / 12 ins by 9 ins.

What ingredients do I need ?

Ingredients with labels.

Classic Shortbread Dough Ingredients

I use the classic 3:2:1 ratio of three parts flour and cornflour mix, two parts butter and one part sugar. I like to include cornflour because it produces a tender shortbread.

  • Unsalted butter – room temperature butter makes the creaming with the sugar so much easier.
  • Caster/superfine sugar – a finer sugar helps prevent graininess in your shortbread but still delivers a crumbly, soft, light and buttery result.
  • Plain flour/all purpose flour
  • Cornflour/cornstarch
  • Sea salt

Apple Filling

I’ve kept this simple so the Apple Crumble Bars filling is all about the flavour of the apple.

  • Dessert apples – I used Braeburn but feel free to substitute with your favourite apple variety. Jonagold, Pink Lady, Gala (or if you like a tarter flavour try Granny Smiths) all work well in this recipe.
  • Lemon juice – does two jobs. It stops your apple going brown and the acidity helps to enhance the fruit’s natural flavour.
  • Caster sugar – dissolves quicker than granulated sugar.

Crumble Topping

Layers of Apple Crumble Shortbread.
  • Plain or all purpose flour
  • Butter – again at room temperature for easy mixing.
  • Caster sugar
  • Demerara sugar – has a molasses taste and the large crystals give a crunchy texture in the finished crumble.
  • Jumbo/old fashioned oats – for extra texture.
  • Flaked/slithered almonds – for flavour and texture.

How to make Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars

Make and parbake your shortbread

Making shortbread dough in a Kitchen Aid.
  1. I use a stand mixer to make shortbread, it keeps mixing to a minimum and ensures a tender crunchy shortbread.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar using a stand mixer. Alternatively, cream the butter and sugar together with a hand held mixer or a wooden spoon in a large bowl.
  3. Add the flour and cornflour in 3 or 4 batches and mix until the dough comes together.
  4. Roll out your dough to fit your tin. Alternatively, press the shortbread dough with your fingers easing into a rectangle shape in your tin. Prick all over with a fork.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Shaping and parbaking shortbread dough.

Make your Apple Filling

Peeling and preparing apples for the filling.
  • Peel and core the apples before cutting into small even cubes.
  • Toss the cubes in lemon and sugar before cooking for five to ten minutes on the hob until softened.
Cooking apples in a saucepan.

Make your Easy Crumble Topping

Making crumble topping.
  • Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the jumbo oats, almonds and sugars.

Assemble and Bake

Step by step assembling and baking apple shortbread.
  • Spread the shortbread with the cooked apples and then evenly sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.
  • Leave to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into bars.
  • Serve warm or cold with cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Slicing Apple Shortbread into pieces.

Baking tips for Apple Crumble Bars

Putting your shortbread dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes, treating it just like pastry, results in excellent shortbread.

The shortbread is parbaked before the filling and topping is added. This ensures the shortbread is completely cooked through. Don’t skip this step.

If you want to get ahead with making your Apple Crumble Slice, the shortbread dough and crumble can be frozen. Just take out of the freezer to defrost for a few hours at room temperature before assembling with the apple filling and then popping in the oven.

Apple shortbread on a cooling rack.

How to store

Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars are best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Apple shortbread can be reheated in the oven. Place the bars on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 180° C until heated through.

Can I freeze Apple Shortbread ?

Yes, you can. Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars can be stored frozen for up to three months.
Open freeze shortbread bars on a flat surface for two hours before transferring to a freezer bag or container.
Defrost thoroughly at room temperature before refreshing in the oven for 10 minutes at 180° C.

Apple Crumble Shortbread being sliced on a board.

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Apple bars on a slate with fresh apples and a step by step of assembling layers.
A stack of apple shortbread bars with apples.

Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars

Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars – deliciously buttery shortbread with sweet apple filling and oat and almond crumble topping. My twist on a traditional apple pie.
It's a no fuss easy apple traybake recipe that will soon become a favourite apple dessert. The perfect Autumn/Fall recipe, all the comfort an apple pie but in a bar.
5 from 47 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Afternoon Tea, Baking, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 29 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 34 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 216kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • 1 Stand Mixer optional – I used my KitchenAid
  • 1 lined shallow baking tin 30 cm x 23 cm / 12 ins by 9 ins

Ingredients

Shortbread:

  • 225 g softened butter
  • 110 g caster/superfine sugar
  • 225 g plain flour/all purpose flour
  • 110 g cornflour/cornstarch
  • A pinch of sea salt

Filling:

  • 750 g apple I used 6 medium Braeburn apples
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 50 g caster sugar

Crumble Topping:

  • 140 g plain flour
  • 125 g butter at room temperature
  • 50 g caster/superfine sugar
  • 50 g Demerara sugar
  • 25 g jumbo oats/old fashioned oats 4 tablespoons
  • 25 g flaked/slithered almonds 4 tablespoons

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C / 150°C Fan / Gas Mark 3

Make your Shortbread:

  • Add butter and sugar to the mixing bowl and beat until creamed. Depending upon the softness of your butter and your mixer speed, this should take between one and two minutes. I find a mixer speed of 4, 5 or 6 works well with my Kitchen Aid mixer.
  • Sift flour and cornflour into a separate bowl and then add half to your creamed butter and sugar.
  • Start with a slow speed on your mixer (to prevent flour flying everywhere) before mixing for a few seconds. Add the remainder of the sifted flours and combine until everything comes together around the beater – about a minute’s mixing.
  • Alternatively, cream the butter and sugar together with a hand held mixer or a wooden spoon in a large bowl. Add the flour and cornflour in 3 or 4 batches and mix until the dough comes together. Don’t overwork it.
  • Roll out your dough on a floured work surface to 30 cm x 23 cm (12 ins by 9 ins). Once placed in your tin, prick the dough all over using a fork.
  • Alternatively, press and shape the shortbread dough with your fingers, easing into a rectangle shape in your tin. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes before leaving to cool for 15 minutes.

Make your Crumble Topping:

  • Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
  • Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Now stir in the jumbo oats, almonds and sugars.

Make your Apple Filling:

  • Peel, core and cut your apples into small cubes before adding to a medium saucepan.
  • Toss apples with lemon juice and sugar.
  • Cook on a gentle heat for 5 to 10 minutes until softened.

Assemble and bake:

  • Spread the shortbread with the cooked apples before evenly sprinkling crumble mixture over the top.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.
  • Leave to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into bars. Cuts into 24 pieces.
  • Serve warm or cold with cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Notes

  • The crumble topping can be made in advance and frozen ready to use.
  • Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars are best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Apple shortbread can be reheated in the oven. Place the bars on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 180° C until heated through.
  • Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars freeze well. Apple Crumble Shortbread Bars can be stored frozen for up to three months.
    Open freeze shortbread bars on a flat surface for two hours before transferring to a freezer bag or container.
    Defrost thoroughly at room temperature before refreshing in the oven for 10 minutes at 180° C.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 381IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating




Claudia

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

the directions made this super easy these were so delicious everyone enjoyed this recipe!

Suja Md

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Outstanding recipe thanks so much! tasted so much good!

Sarah James

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Thanks Suja, so pleased you enjoyed my Apple Shortbread. It's a pleasure to share the recipe.

Cara

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Light and buttery, yet soft and sweet on the topping, these are amazing! My whole family loved them!

Sarah James

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Hello Cara, glad to hear your family loved them. Thanks for taking the time to let me know, it's much appreciated.

Tayler

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

These bars look amazing! I put these on my must bake list for the week- the kids will love them!

Kate

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Oh yum, these would be perfect after-school snacks for the kids - or just as good for a fancy dessert! Totally delicious.

Sarah James

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Thanks Kate, we often have them as a dessert with ice cream and I cut them into smaller pieces for a snack.