Fall is in the air and school is back in!! Sorry, you know I had to glow-on for a moment there…it’s the most wonderful time of the years after all. With this time of year comes fun times visiting apple orchards and mounds of apples all over my kitchen. One of my fav recipes combines shortbread and apples…how can that be wrong?

I know apples don’t last long in our home…in fact here is one of our favourite Fall dessert recipes which use apples!

Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars

apple crisp shortbread bars dessert recipe

apple-crisp-shortbread-bars-soberjulie

INGREDIENTS

Shortbread Base:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Apple Filling:

  • 3 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter – melted or room temp to cut in.

PREPARATION

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. Be sure to bring the parchment up the sides as it makes it easier to lift out later.

Shortbread Base:

Place butter into your mixer and turn on high for 5 minutes or until the butter turns white rather than yellow, that’s how you’ll know it’s creamed. Next mix in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Once combined, add in the flour and stir well. Press the mixture into the parchment lined pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

soberjulie-shortbread-apple-crisp

Apple Filling: 

In a bowl, combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until the apples are well coated.

Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars- filling

Topping: 

Mix flour, 3/4 up brown sugar. Cut in the butter and knead together.

Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle one half of the Topping over the short bread, then layer the apples on top. You will have multiple layers so try to keep it level. Once this is finished, sprinkle the remainder of the Topping evenly on top and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.

Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars-oven

Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before placing in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Once it’s set, remove from the baking dish by lifting out the parchment paper and cut into 16 squares.

Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars recipe

For more apple recipes, check out…

APPLE PIE RECIPE – SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS

apple pie recipe soberjulie

APPLE MAPLE PECAN SKILLET PANCAKE RECIPE

Apple Maple Pecan skillet pancake

For more shortbread recipes…

WHIPPED SHORTBREAD COOKIE RECIPE

Whipped Shortbread Cookie recipe

4.8 from 46 reviews
Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars
fresh from the farm
Serves: 16
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • Shortbread Base:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Apple Filling:
  • 3 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Topping:
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter - melted or room temp to cut in.
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. Be sure to bring the parchment up the sides as it makes it easier to lift out later.
  2. Shortbread Base:
  3. Place butter into your mixer and turn on high for 5 minutes or until the butter turns white rather than yellow, that's how you'll know it's creamed. Next mix in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Once combined, add in the flour and stir well. Press the mixture into the parchment lined pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Apple Filling:
  5. In a bowl, combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until the apples are well coated.
  6. Topping:
  7. Mix flour, ¾ up brown sugar. Cut in the butter and knead together.
  8. Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle one half of the Topping over the short bread, then layer the apples on top. You will have multiple layers so try to keep it level. Once this is finished, sprinkle the remainder of the Topping evenly on top and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before placing in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Once it's set, remove from the baking dish by lifting out the parchment paper and cut into 16 squares.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. 

 

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115 Responses

    1. Very yummy!! I did bake an extra 10 minutes to crisp up the streusel top and to make sure the apples were tender. My hubby is munching down!!!!

      1. Made it for Thanksgiving dinner today
        It was a big hit❤️I’ll make it again for sure
        Thank you soooooooo much for this super delicious recipe 🥰

    1. what if you used cherry pie filling instead of apples,,,my husband likes cherry crisp and this sounds really awesome,,,but wonder about the pie filling,,,,,,also for the person that asked about the under cooked crust,,,try baking the shortbread crust first,,,cool,,,then finish up,,,,may work,,,i do that when i make the pudding desserts

  1. Oh my goodness, I am in the mood to make an apple pie but wanted to make ‘something’ different but still apple related, this loos amazing! I need something to donate to our local bake sale, looks like this is the plan!! Thanks for the post!

      1. I ate some of the one meggs made
        I must say it was absolutely delicious!!!!
        I sure hope she makes it often
        ❤️

  2. Hello, cannot wait to try these as apple pie is one of my husband favorite. Does it matter what type of apples you use? I know some are better for baking and was wondering. Thank you

    1. I know Granny Smiths are often used because they are naturally tart and the sugar in the recipe won’t make the bars sickly sweet. Also have heard of Fuji or Red Delicious if you prefer something sweeter though.

      1. For sweeter apples try royal gala or fugi apples, they both work very well in these Shortbread Apple Crisp Bars.
        Enjoy, Jayne G

  3. Is the topping suppose to have anything else in it? Or is it just suppose to be brown sugar and water? I just ask because mine didn’t look close the picture and I followed the directions and I even read he recipe quite a few times. Also I looked at a couple similar recipes and they do a crumb topping, just making sure I didn’t mess up anything…

    1. HI there Sarah….I’m not sure why you’re seeing that….the topping recipe calls for:
      1/2 cup all purpose flour
      3/4 cup brown sugar
      1/4 cup butter – melted or room temp to cut in.

      Instructions for topping:
      Sprinkle one half of the Topping over the short bread, then layer the apples on top. You will have multiple layers so try to keep it level. Once this is finished, sprinkle the remainder of the Topping evenly on top and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.

      I’m sooo sorry you’re seeing it differently, I have my designer trying to figure out why

  4. I’m not one to leave comments but… I made this for my boyfriend to take to a Super Bowl party last weekend and needless to say, it didn’t even make it. It was amazing and I’m not even a fan of apple desserts. Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  5. I just made this- it’s currently cooling for the recommended two hours. My husband couldn’t wait that long and cut himself a piece. The shortbread seemed a bit under cooked. Will this go away after it sits for the full two hours, or did I do something wrong? I guess I am wondering what the texture of the shortbread should be like…

  6. We loved this dessert.

    This was so good we could not stop eating it.
    I did add more cinnamon to the apples and also added some to the topping. I used cane sugar in the apples and shortbread.
    I baked mine about 15 minutes longer or until the apples were really soft and the topping was nicely browned, this also made sure the crust was crisp.

  7. I made these for my coworkers and they were a HUGE HIT! Everyone LOVED them and said they were perfect! I’m going to make them again next weekend! They were delicious!!!

  8. Just made tbis! Such a simple but really delicious recipe. The shortbread crust is so yummy! Trolling your blog for other recipes. Thank you!

  9. These were great! Will totally make again, but best made and eaten the same day. Don’t store in fridge, even though you put in for a few hours, the toppin gets soggy. Also I baked for an extra 15 minutes, as another reviewer suggested, and that timing was perfect. Thanks for a great recipe, a terrific base for lots of other fruit flavours…peach-blackberry, lemon-blueberry or strawberry-raspberry to name a few I’m planning to try. Super yum!

  10. I made these tonight and they are currently cooling and are looking good! Quick question, though, do you keep the leftovers refrigerated? Or after they set for the two hours, can they be kept at room temperature?

  11. Hi Julie, Just wanted U 2 know that I’ve made your recipe several times & each time….rave reviews. Also, I’m from Burlington…a “stones-throw” from U.

    AJ

  12. At our AA meeting last week the rule 62 question was ” which Quebec apple do we like?” Being a hobby chef they challenged me to make an apple pie, which can be messy. Looked and found your recipe which went over great 👍😁. Thanks

  13. I tried this last night, because my neighbors gave me a huge box of Granny Smith apples. Slight mods….I added a heaping tsp of red chile powder to the topping, and I dusted the very top with some high quality cocoa mix from Santa Fe that had cocoa nibs and more chile powder in it. Because this is autumn in New Mexico those flavors are very appropriate. I also lined the dish with foil because I don’t have parchment paper nad I followed some others suggestions and baked about 10 minutes longer than suggested. I’m not sure that was needed but I wouldn’t have baked any longer.

  14. I would suggest cooking the shortbread a little longer then recommended. It came out a little softer then what I expected it too.

  15. Hi. Your recipe looks amazing. I’m planning for a bake sale and considering using your recipe but doing the shortbread base in a tart pan and baking it ahead. Storing the bottom airtight and then doing the Apple and topping the night before the sale. How do u think this idea would work out? And thanks!!

    1. I am wondering if this turned out well. I, too, want to bake the base ahead. Also want to make several at once, in separate 8×8 tins. Any recommendations??

  16. I just made these for Thanksgiving and for some reason they came out a little liquidy. Just wondering if anyone has experienced this?

  17. I want to make this in a 9×13 pan to share!! Can I simply double everything and add some cooking time?? I might try to freeze and thaw.. I see you advised against that, just wondering why?

  18. I have to make these for an office cookie / bar exchange, from what I’m reading they aren’t good to be stored & eaten in a few days? I’ve bought all the ingredients. Making them Dec 19 having the exchange Dec 20 & then they’ll be eaten by the recipients over the holidays. Otherwise I should maybe look for another recipe with these ingredients if Possible.

  19. I made this for Christmas Eve dessert and it was a big hit. It was easy and turned out wonderfully delicious. It’s going to become my go-to dessert recipe. Thank you for sharing.

    FYI for any future readers – I used honeycrisp apples which were great but next time I think I’ll use something more tart, or else less sugar. It was pretty sweet.

  20. Hi!
    I made this recipe, it came out really well and everyone loved it! My only question is, what did you do with the leftovers. By the next day they were watery and mushy.

  21. This is my second time making this recipe. The first time I was trying to find something to make with my apples that were going bad. I didn’t have vanilla extract so I substituted it with almond. I also didn’t use parchment paper, I used foil. I think for those who had issues with the cook time and the shortbread, foil is the way to go. It turned out just about perfect. This go round, I had to cook my shortbread longer since I used parchment paper. These bars have been a huge hit for my household. Thank you!

  22. Hi. I made this last night and followed the recipe except for the following…. chopped the apples into small chunks vs. slices and left out overnight after baking (took out of the oven at 10 and wasn’t getting out of bed at midnight to put it on the fridge). When I checked it in the morning, I was expecting to be able to cut it into bars (plan was to take them to work). Instead it was very soft and the shortbread was sogg from the apples. Did I do something wrong or was my expectation of the consistency off? They are very rich and delicious, just expecting to eat them by hand and not with a fork. Thanks.

    1. The refrigeration step appears to be necessary. I refrigerated overnight and they firmed up beautifully and were super easy to cut up. I then left them out until served and everyone was able to eat with their hands over a napkin. I also did slice mine thinly, using a mandolin… it looked so beautiful once sliced!

  23. Fantastic!! I was looking for a way to use the many apples we have. I froze the right amount of apples. Thawed and made this recipe. SO good. A rave. Will make again.

  24. I made these for the Rosh Hashanah meal at my husband’s grandmother’s home. They were a hit! They disappeared within seconds and received rave reviews! My husband declared them “one of the best things you’ve ever made!” Thanks for an awesome recipe!

  25. Does this need to be refrigerated to store it? Or is it ok to store overnight at room temperature? Planning to make it ahead of time for a party tomorrow, thanks.

  26. Excellent recipe, not overly sweet and shortbread crust compliments the apples well. I doubled this recipe and made in a 9 x 13 stone cake pan. Turned out amazing. Thanks for sharing

  27. Had to bake for another 10 minutes still not done turned oven up to 375 degrees for 5 minutes much better now and smells wonderful!

  28. Made the apple crisp shortbread recipe…I tripled it to use in a half tray…they were amazing.
    Thanks for the ideal

  29. I never comment on food posts, but OH MY GOD these things are good!! I’ve made them twice now and they are absolutely fantastic! Definitely planning on keeping this recipe. Thank you!

  30. I made these apple bars yesterday and they turned out GREAT! However, there would only be 2 of us
    eating them this week-end so I cut them, placed them on a plate and kept them on the counter at room
    temperature as was stated in another comment. This morning the plate was full of liquid. I had to place
    them on paper towel. How should these be stored if they can’t be frozen or refrigerated ? Please reply.

  31. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I double recipe for holidays and will be bringing it to our 4th of July celebration with friends!!~

  32. I actually looked up this recipe because I was making my own apple pie. I received way too many apples and ended up having too much filling. This was a great way to use up the leftover apple pie filling. However, it is very sweet with the crumble and the shortbread base. I think this recipe would be ideal if you had a filling that was more tart or tangy as it would contrast the flavours better. I also would have appreciated a suggestion for including nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.) as I didn’t think of it until I had long finished baking and was about to eat the bars the next day. Do you have any recommendations about how to keep the crumble crumble-y? Mine became soft the second day.

  33. These were delicious and a definite keeper. Made for a family cookout, and there wasn’t a crumb leftover. Everyone raved about how good they were. Will definitely be making again.

  34. These were delicious, but mine turned out absolutely nothing like the picture. It wold be helpful to have some guidance on what the consistency of the shortbread is supposed to be when you take it of the oven. Mine was still liquid, so I ended up cooking it for 20 minutes longer so it would set. The finished product was extremely soggy, and not something that could easily be cut into bars and picked up without a fork. Not quite sure where I want wrong? They were still tasty though!

  35. These were very good, but I think the butter could be reduced. They seemed very buttery. In the crumb topping, I would add oats next time I make them. I would also add a bit more cinnamon! Overall very yummy!

  36. I made this twice. First time I followed the instructions and found the crust a bit too under cooked. The second time I cooked the crust mush longer before adding the topping. Also depending on what type of apples used you might want to add more flour to the apple mixture so it doesn’t become siggy

  37. I did make it in a 9 by 13 glass dish-so with doubling the recipe I baked it 45 min and I think it could have baked almost an hour-it’s so good

  38. I love this recipe. I’ve made it dozens of times, and it’s always a success.
    Today I made it with granny smith apples, and the tartness really offset the sweetness of the dough.

    (and as a side note, my mixer died and i had to mix everything by hand and I didn’t notice any real difference from the mixer-used times. so if you’re feeling lazy, you can do it with a wooden spoon.

    Thanks so much for the recipe Julie!

  39. This was very yummy but now I want to know if this could also work with pears. I’m thinking it would come out nice. Please let me know what you think. Thank you,
    Brenda M

  40. I made these and they didnt last even one day in my house! They are very yummy. I added half a cup of toasted chopped pecans and a 1/4tsp of almond extract to the shortbred layer and a quarter cup of toasted chopped pecans to the crumble the second time and it was even more amazing! Love this recipe!

  41. I made this recipe 3 times now.. big hit with requests for a redo! I mixed the gala and granny Smith apples. So yummy!

  42. I used my homemade canned apple pie mix and it turned out wonderful. I didn’t use any of the ingredients to go with apples my mix has all that in them. And I melt my butter for the crust and topping.

  43. I made these today. I used some red delicious because that’s what I had on hand and added some rhubarb. Since the apples were not cooking apples, I added some lemon juice to the filling. They turned out okay. The next time I will make these with Granny Smith apples and no rhubarb. Using all rhubarb would work just have to add more sugar.

  44. Hello! I am planning on making these tomorrow. Can you lightly sauté the apples before layering and baking? Thanks in advance 🙂

  45. I made these today and they are delicious! Very rich and very good! I like that it makes a smaller pan. I did bake them 15 minutes longer and they were perfect. I only had salted butter so I just omitted the salt. Delicious and hits every sweet craving. Such a great fall dessert and one of the first times mine turned out very similar to the picture! Thanks for such a great recipe!

  46. These were delicious but don’t make them if they won’t all be consumed the day they are made. They do not store well in or out of the refrigerator. The topping basically melts away after the first day.

  47. These are delicious. All my fruit crisps in the future will have this shortbread crust. I did add oats to my ‘topping’. Next time I’ll add more & chopped pecans or walnuts. I’ll use less butter in the shortbread. I did bake an additional 5 minutes & all the liquid caramelized with the base. Delicious. My topping was crunchy. I used honeycrisp apples & will use less sugar next time but double the spices. I might try one suggestion from another review and add chilli powder. We did cool this but ate some warm before refrigerated & a plate was not needed. We warmed & served with pralines & cream ice cream. 😋 Thank you for a new favourite that I’m going to include in our upcoming family favourites cookbook!

  48. I made this for A Valentines Weekend Dessert since we were going to be snowed/iced in here at home. Holy Cow I was blown away with how amazing these were!! I’m usually not a big apple dessert person, but my boys love anything apple. I could not stop eating this! This will hands down be my go to for any apple dessert in the future in my house. I used salted butter and still added the salt it called for, and loved that it added that sweet & salty layer to the bite. I love to bake and this hands down has been the best recipe that I have ever made.

  49. I feel like I followed everything to a T but I had to basically double my cooking times. However, it came out delicious! Definitely making again!

  50. Amazing!!! I did cook shortbread for 5 min longer and the whole thing 15 min longer.
    I only saw one post about freezing them, anyone else try this?

  51. This recipe was a hit! Baked the shortbread crust for 25 minutes to ensure no soggy bottom (and as suggested by others). Turned out perfect. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  52. I didn’t have parchment paper so I just sprayed pan with baking spray, cut them out and were fine! Should have read the entire post because I wasn’t prepared to eat the whole pan in one day! Tasty!!!

  53. Is it topping/apples/topping or apples/topping/apples/topping? It’s unclear how’s it written what the layer orders are

  54. These are so delicious. This is the second time making them. I’ve made them for thanksgiving. I’m serving with homemade cinnamon ice cream, caramel drizzle and fresh whipped cream.

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