Welcome back to Fall Cookie Week! Today we’re making another cookie inspired by the season – Apple Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Bars.
I hope you’re enjoying this year’s FCW collaboration with Julie Blanner. Have you had a chance to check out Julie’s recipes? In case you missed any, you can find all of them here. Also, don’t forget to enter our FCW Giveaway. One lucky person will win a beautiful cast-iron pumpkin cocotte from Staub along with a Zwilling Pro Knife set. It’s a $500 value. You can enter here.
Now, on to today’s cookie bars.
I always try to incorporate a bar cookie into Fall Cookie Week. As I told you yesterday when I shared my Pumpkin Pie Fudge recipe, I like to vary the colors, shapes, flavors, and textures in an array of cookies. It just seems to make a more interesting arrangement.
I also like to make bar cookies because they are incredibly simple to put together. Everything is assembled in one pan, and you get dozens of cookies with just one trip to the oven. So, if you’re in a pinch and need cookies fast, this is the way to go.
I chose an apple cinnamon-inspired recipe because apples are a fall staple. There are so many varieties of apples available this time of year, and since many of them are locally grown, I think they taste especially good. I’m trying to use apples in every way I can.
As you can see, this dough is loaded with bits of Granny Smith apples. They give these bars great flavor and texture.
For the frosting, I chose to start with a traditional buttercream. To give it a burst of flavor, I incorporated a packet of instant apple cider mix. (This is the kind I used.) I got this idea from the Caramel Apple Cider Cookies I made for a past FCW. (Those cookies are still among my favorites.) The dough required this instant apple cider mix, so I thought I’d try it in buttercream.
I am glad I did. The spiced apple cider flavoring in the frosting complements the taste of the fresh apples. With so much apple flavor, these bars are perfect for the season.
To finish things off, I used a mesh strainer to sprinkle cinnamon on the frosting. The cinnamon adds visual interest and even more flavor. Are you tempted to take a bite?
I hope so. Here’s the recipe.
Makes 3 dozen bars
Here's what you will need:
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups apples, peeled and diced
Apple Cider Buttercream
1 packet Spiced Apple Cider Instant Drink Mix
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups butter
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Then line a 13x18" baking sheet with parchment paper*. Set aside.
*You could grease your pan instead of using parchment paper. However, I prefer the parchment paper because it makes removing the bars very simple.
In a large bowl. whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In another large bowl, with a stand or electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in one egg at a time, blending well after each addition. Then mix in the vanilla.
Next, blend in the flour mixture on low speed until almost incorporated. Finally, add in the apples and mix until just combined.
Spread the dough out evenly in the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
In the meantime, prepare the frosting. Begin by dissolving the apple cider drink mix in the milk. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Carefully add the powdered sugar a cup at a time,alternating with the prepared milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar. Finally, mix in the vanilla. (If needed, more milk can be added to make the buttercream frosting more spreadable.)
Once the cookie bars are completely cool, spread them with the buttercream. Allow the frosting to set; then cut into bars.
As I told you, this bar cookie is so simple, but the results are incredibly delicious.
I chose to cut rectangular bars just to add a new shape to my cookie collection. However, squares or even triangles would also be beautiful. No matter how you cut them, these Apple Cinnamon Cookie Bars are a winner.
Before you head off to enjoy this first weekend of fall, be sure to click on over to Julie Blanner to check out her Friday Fall Cookie Week Recipe. She’s made Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies. If there’s one thing that can compete with my love for pumpkin, it’s salted caramel. My mouth is watering already. Check them out here.
I’ll meet you back here tomorrow morning for our final FCW recipe. See you then!