These Almond and Apple Shortbread Bars are intensely buttery, not too sweet and loaded with apples and almond frangipane. The recipe is almost too easy to be true!
We’re in the season of heartier fare: Starchy roots and pumpkins, soups, stews, braises and baked goods that fill the kitchen with warmth and cinnamon.
I’d been making fruit crisps, cakes and clafoutis all summer long, so I wanted to make something different to help usher in fall. I decided to do a riff on this Apricot Pistachio Tart by swapping in apples for apricots, almonds for pistachios, and making it into bars rather than a tart. This recipe is quickly becoming one of my favorite desserts ever, because it’s really easy to throw together (seriously!), can be adapted to so many different flavor combinations, and most importantly, it’s unbelievably good.
The shortbread crust is intensely buttery, barely sweet, and a just little bit salty. Then comes the almond layer, in the form of something called frangipane. It sounds ultra fancy and complicated because, you know, it’s French. But that really couldn’t be farther from the truth. Frangipane is essentially a pastry filling made from almonds, eggs, sugar and butter. It’s so simple to make, and tastes like heaven. The classic version is made with almonds, but you can really make it with any nut you want.
The frangipane gets spread on top of the shortbread crust, and then pieces of fruit – in this case, apples – get tucked in on top. The goal is always to create a pretty pattern, but in typical Coley fashion I spazzed out at the last minute and kinda screwed that up. I thought I’d be able to make a 3rd row of the fanned out apples, but then they didn’t fit, so I panicked and, well… you can see how that panned out. I kept the photos in here to remind you that I do, in fact, mess things up (quite often). Here’s the thing, once you slice these into squares, the arrangement of the apples no longer matters. Once you take a bite, you’ll realize the only thing that matters is how delicious they taste.
These apple almond bars look humble. They look unassuming. They look like they might not even be worth the calories, but oh my friends, do not judge this book by it’s cover. Everyone who tries one… even those who claim to be “not that into fruit desserts” all go crazy for these bars. I’m pretty certain you’ll go crazy for them too.Print