Glazed Apple Pie Bars

Mmmm, Mmmm,  I  do LOVE this dessert. 
The aroma of apple bars baking takes me right back to my Grandmother’s kitchen so many years ago. 

Glazed Apple Pie Bars

I grew up on a farm way back when and my Grandparents lived in a little house on the property.  Every afternoon after school I stopped by for a visit and more often than not got involved in helping my Grandmother prepare dinner. She had every kind of fruit and vegetable to work with so it was anybody’s guess what would be on the evening’s menu. It was a regular duty to be sent to the hen house to gather eggs or pick up a basket of walnuts or hazelnuts (filberts to us Oregonians) or  fill a sack with ripe fruit for the day’s dessert. I vividly remember wildly running around the back yard with my Grandma trying to corral a chicken that would end up on our dinner table.  These memories are so far removed from today’s world and the way my Grandchildren live.  I wish you could see the looks on their faces when I tell them that our television set showed only black and white programs on 4 channels and there were no such things as cell phones or computers.

There was a huge old GRAVENSTEIN APPLE TREE next to our barn that produced a monster amount of apples each summer.  Nothing was ever wasted in my Grandma’s kitchen and pots of applesauce simmered on the stove and jars of pie filling lined the counters waiting to go into the canner. I don’t remember if freezers were a common appliance back then but we didn’t have one so everything that was saved for winter was either canned or dried.  Gravensteins are in season right now and I hope you will buy some for a pie if you see them in your local market.  They are the tops for flavor and do cook down to almost a sauce so you might want to add a Granny Smith or a Braeburn if you like a little texture in your pie.  If there is any crispness to the apples in a pie my kids won’t eat it.  We are true Gravenstein fans.

The recipe for these apple bars appeared in the food section of our local newspaper in the mid-1950’s.   This crust recipe is the best I’ve ever tried, and even if it is rolled out several times it remains flaky and tender.  This makes enough for a large 2 crust pie or bars made in a quarter-sheet baking pan, Nordic Ware Bakers Quarter Sheet, 13 by 9 by 1. This small baking sheet is one of the most used pans in my kitchen, perfect for bar cookies, jelly rolls and small cakes. It is just the right size for half recipes of many of our favorite desserts.

To make the bars, roll out half the pastry to fit your pan.  Peel and slice 8 to 10 cups apples, or enough to fill pan, and mix with 1 to 1-1/4 cups sugar (to taste), 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons flour. Combine well and arrange on top of the bottom crust.  Dot with dabs of butter, and top with remaining rolled-out crust.  Crimp the edges well.  Brush top of crust with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Cut decorative vents in crust so steam can escape.

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and place a baking stone on it.  Heat oven to 375 degrees for 30 minutes until stone is very hot.  Place the bars directly on the stone and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and juices are bubbly and caramelized.  The caramelization is the sign that the pie is done.  If the top starts to over brown top with a sheet of foil.  Remove baked bars from the oven and drizzle a powdered sugar/water glaze over the hot bars. Top with chopped, toasted nuts.  I used toasted hazelnuts on half of the bars. My kids don’t like nut!!!!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Never Fail Pie Crust
Makes enough for one 2-crust pie and 1 1-crust pie
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  1. Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until dough is crumbly and the size of small peas.
  2. Combine egg, water and vinegar and add to flour mixture. Mix with a fork until dough stick together.
  3. Roll out on well-floured board to desired thickness and ease into pie pan.

If you are unsure about making pie crust you can find a very lengthy tutorial at The Pioneer Woman  that explains each step. She gives this pie crust recipe that she received from one of her readers  high marks just the way I do, and has had great results freezing it. Wouldn’t that be a time saver with the holidays just around the corner.  Why not make 2 or 3 pie shells at a time so they are ready to go into the oven on short notice?  Ree’s recipe calls for 5 tablespoons water but I thought that 3 were plenty so I suggest that you add the water slowly.

These apple bars are so good because the apples have so much flavor and the ratio of filling to crust is perfect.  The flaky crust melts in your mouth, and the sugar glaze and toasted nuts add a bit of sweetness and crunch.  And the aroma while the bars are baking is pure heaven. I bought 40 pounds of Gravenstein apples at my farmers’ market on Saturday so for a few hours this week my kitchen will resemble my grandmothers with pots of sauce simmering on the stove and bowls of sliced and sugared apples ready for winter pies.


  1. says

    My mouth is watering! We do like a little crunch to our pie, so I will add some GS.
    Can’t wait to make this.
    We haven’t picked apples yet, the farm just opened. Last year it was 37 a bag, need to refi the house to pick a few bags, lol.
    Kathleen recently posted..OH BUOY! A MESSAGE FOR YOU!My Profile

  2. says

    I remember those fresh caught chickens from the yard…the feather plucking…the BW TV. :) This dessert looks great Cathy. And with the thin layer of apples, I believe it sounds better than a thicker apple pie. Did I just type that? It sounds so anti All-American. :) Pinned.
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  3. says

    Now my mouth is watering. You know Gravenstein’s are my favorite apple. I grew up with a family of Gravenstein apple farmer’s. I got some recently in Hood River and now have some pie fillings in the freezer. Oh I would love some more. Maybe I need to come next Saturday and get some more.
    Marilyn recently posted..One WordMy Profile

  4. says

    This looks wonderful! I am so excited to go apple picking and start baking. I love an apple that really gets soft when baking, no cripsy for me either:) I wish I could find gravenstein here in Mass but have never seen them. This recipe sounds great. Thanks for sharing it. I would be in heaven with 40 pounds of apples right now. Your family is very lucky:)
    Raina recently posted..Creamy Poblano Chicken EnchilladasMy Profile

  5. says

    Oh my goodness this looks divine! And to think, the local orchards are already advertising apple season. I’ll have to make this when our guests come in the first weekend of October! Have a wonderful week!
    Jennifer recently posted..Picnics & BaseballMy Profile

  6. Stephanie-Oh says

    Cathy, your pie crust recipe is identical to my mother’s. You are so right -it is a great recipe and truly is “never fail”. My recipe card is so stained and tattered and yellowed, I’m going to have to recopy it. I am definitely going to try the bar recipe this week for my grandchildren’s vs. Thank you!

  7. says

    Cathy, I have very similar childhood memories of my grandparents’ farms and vineyards! We used to climb up those old apple trees and munch away! Your pie crust recipe is the same that my family has used since time began! And these apple bars, well now that it’s apple season, we’ll make them and enjoy every last crumb!
    Roz recently posted..Roasted Red Pepper Panini ~ ~ Classic!My Profile

  8. says

    This appetizing apple dessert sure brought back memories for me, Cathy! It was one of our faves that my mom made often. She called it “Apple Square”. It always had the powdered sugar/water glaze and was served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or slice of cheddar cheese. So tasty!
    JG recently posted..~September~My Profile

  9. says

    These look so wonderful, I want one right this minute. OOO, I do love anything with apples.
    When I tell my grands that we didn’t even HAVE tv…not until I was 16….had party lines on our phones, and not even a fridge until I was 9…they look at me like I am from another planet. :))

  10. Erika T says

    YeeHawww!! Just found your blog! OMG this recipe sounds wonderful. Now do you have a printable recipe for this glazed apple pie bar? Wanna make this asap since we are getting some great apples in here. Thanks so much…I’m thrilled to have found you!! I am all about food. LOL

  11. siwsan says

    thanks! my mom made a very similar dessert when i was a kid, but i have lost the recipe. She always put raisins and either tapioca or flour in the filling to make it ‘jelly-er”.

  12. says

    I used this for Thanksgiving as I was having 10 grown men, 6 of them from 18 to 20-years-old. I’ve used the Never Fail Pie Crust for years, but always have used 5 tbls of water and 1 apple cider vinegar. Since I had 3 crusts, I decided to expand to a 15 x 9 x 1 pan and it worked out great. You got many compliments via me on this recipe. One young man when offered a piece of pie, said he was marrying the apple pie bars. I think one of us may have a new son-in-law! Happy Holidays to you and yours.
    nancy merrriman recently posted..I Remember Mama’sMy Profile

  13. says

    Yes, our lives are certainly different now, let along the young ones. I remember our old B&W only TV with 3 channels and don’t miss it one bit :) Lovely dessert. I’d love some right now, in fact. My grandparents loved Gravenstein apples and used to go every year to pick them so they could can applesauce. They’re a variety I have never seen in the markets here, though.
    kellypea recently posted..Four Layer Chocolate Mousse CakeMy Profile

  14. says

    I would fit in perfectly with your family as apparently I am a Gravenstein fan and didn’t know it. I really prefer that my pies and cobblers have a more sauce to their fillings than texture. Being from Texas where apples trees aren’t a big part of the landscape, I am really not familiar with the best apples to cook with so thank you for cluing me in on what type to look for. I can’t wait to try this recipe and pass it on to my mom. She will love it.
    Karen Harris recently posted..A Short Staycation and My Version of The Original Pancake House’s Cinnamon Almond French ToastMy Profile


  1. […] Here is the recipe for Glazed Apple Pie Bars at Wives With Knives. The crust recipe is the same that I use with the exception I use 5 tablespoons of water to her 3 tablespoons. You have to read the blog for the apple pie ingredients as she only lists the crust recipe in a printable format.. This pie crust recipe makes three crusts, a double and 1 single or 3 singles. Since I had 3 crusts, I decided to expand the pie from a 13 X 9 x 1  to a 15 X 9 X 1 pan to handle to crowd we were having. Worked out great.  Glazed Apple Pie Bars. […]

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