As much as I hate to admit it, summer is officially over. Stone fruit is off the shelves and has quickly been replaced with so many apples! With the change in the season, I quickly transitioned some of my favorite summer desserts into fall treats, starting with these apple date crumb bars.
Over the summer I shared this recipe for peach and cherry cobbler bars. To give it a fall twist, I swapped out the peaches and cherries for apples and dates. It’s the perfect seasonal swap for this decadent bar.
Along with the change in the filling, I loaded up on the fall spices. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg are mixed into the fruit filling to make this dessert even more seasonal. The spices are also thrown into the shortbread crust bringing the flavors full circle.
Now, these apple date crumb bars can be made in either an 8×8 or 9×13 inch baking dish. The summer crumble bars were made in a 9×13 inch dish allowing for a smaller and thinner bar. However, I decided to go with an 8×8 for this recipe (now when I mean decided, I mean I wasn’t paying attention to my own recipe and grabbed the wrong pan! Whoops!). Luckily, it all turned out okay and maybe even better depending on your preference.
These bars are LOADED. The layers are thicker and pack even more fall flavors. Using a smaller pan definitely turns these bars into a fork and knife dessert. So, when making these bars and you want thick layers, go with the smaller pan.
If you are not a fan of dates you can easily leave them out of the bars and stick with apples. The filling for these bars is pretty interchangeable so feel free to add or remove whatever you like. Just keep the ratio the same and you should be good.
Check out the recipe below and let me know how it turns out!
Apple Date Crumb Bars
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
Apple Date Filling
- 2-3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 12-15 medjool dates, chopped
- the zest of one lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- Set the oven to 350°. Prepare an 8x8 (or 9x13) inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter until brown. In order to keep the butter from burning, keep the temperature around medium/low. Once the butter is melted, it will start to foam. At this stage, make sure you are keeping an eye on the butter and giving it a consistent stir. After the foam, the butter will turn a golden color and then turn brown. Once the butter has a nutty smell, it is ready and can be taken off the heat. Be careful during the last step as it can go from brown to burnt real fast. Once cool, transfer the butter to a bowl and place in the freezer so it can solidify.
- While the butter is in the freezer, make the shortbread. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- Once the butter is ready, add the butter and the egg into the flour mixture and combine using a pastry blender or your fingers. You want the pieces to be crumbly, but mixed. The flour mixture should have a sandy texture when done.
- Next, cut the fruit and place in a medium bowl with the lemon zest and juice. Set aside to let the fruit marinade. You can sprinkle some cinnamon on the fruit if wanted.
- Next, make the crumb topping. In a medium-sized bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Mix with a fork until crumbs start to form.
- Take the shortbread mixture and firmly press it into the prepared pan. Try to get an even layer across so the bars will sit flat.
- Once the shortbread is ready, place the fruit on top, spreading it out evenly. Follow behind with the crumb topping.
- Place the dish in the oven and let bake for 45-55 minutes. The bars will be done when the fruit is leaking into the top layer and the crumbs have a golden brown tint.
- Let the bars cool completely before cutting.
- The bars will be best eaten fresh and should last 5-7 days in an air-tight container.
Did you make this recipe?! Let me know and share it on Instagram. Tag @crispcrumble and use the hashtag #crispandcrumble