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Little Birdie Almond Apple Bar

When I saw Mary's beautiful picture and mouth watering post, I know it would not take me long to give it a try. Since my first apple bar inspired by Dorie Greenspan, I was on the look out for another one.
I have yet to establish a system in my labyrinth of "to-try" recipes but I have taken a spring resolution of some sort to bake one to two recipes that I have bookmarked from another blog each week, and if you knew how many I put in my "favorites" each day, you would see that it is not a small endeavour!

I adapted her recipe a little bit given what I had in my pantry, but mostly because I got sidetracked by my dog chasing a bird that had flown into the house, hence the title of this post. The bars were delicious. I had a difficult time not nibbling at the little pieces sticking out in the corners, the uneven edges or the crumbly topping. I had a harder time saving some for B., needless to say the neighbors never saw a sample of these, not even a crumb!

Little Birdie Almond Apple Bars, adapted from Mary’s recipe:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 ounces (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup ground almonds

1/4 cup tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tb. butter, cold

5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 medium apples, peeled, cored & cut into thin (I chose Braeburn)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 inch square baking pan with parchment. Spray with cooking spray.
Make the Crust:
Combine the flour and ground almonds and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the almond extract and beat on medium until smooth, about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat on medium speed until blended. On low speed, mix in the flour/almond just until the dough comes together. It should be crumbly.
Reserve about 2/3 cup of the crust mixture.
Press the remaining dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake until light golden, about 16-18 minutes. Remove crust from the oven.

Make the Topping: Add the flour, brown sugar to the reserved dough. Cut in the butter and mix with your fingertips. It should remain crumbly. Set aside.

Make the Filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and the lemon juice.

To assemble:
Arrange the apple slices over the baked crust. Pour the cream cheese filling over the apples and gently spread the filling to cover. Crumble the topping over the filling. Bake until lgolden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Let cool to temperature.
I found the bars easier to cut after a chill time in the fridge. The flavors were even more pronounced the next day (given the one square I had saved for the picture)

No, no, this is not the new HHDD event but stay tuned…the theme will be posted before the end of the week.

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Warda April 3, 2007 um 2:15 am

Just the way I like it,a perfect apple bar with a glass of milk.And What a nice resolution! this one is much more fun that the diet and exercise.

Anonymous April 3, 2007 um 3:50 am

Helene, I love fruit bars. Just yesterday I had one with berries. For me, it’s all about the crumb topping — I love feeling it tumble into my mouth as my teeth sink into sticky fruit. How does the cream cheese modify the taste and texture of the topping?

Gattina Cheung April 3, 2007 um 10:37 am

it’s the only way to make me eat apple 😀 Me too, just love to pick the corner here or there!

Anonymous April 3, 2007 um 1:01 pm

Oh Helene, I am so gonna make this this weekend. I’ve been wanting to make apple pie but I think this is a lot better.

Anonymous April 3, 2007 um 1:07 pm

One question, are the almonds toasted, blanched or just raw.

Cheryl April 3, 2007 um 1:37 pm

A classic, you can’t go wrong with an apple bar.

This looks lovely, simple and delicious.

puu April 3, 2007 um 1:40 pm

you should see my to-do list–i have it organized by category, ingedient, season, course…and STILL i can’t keep track!!

Anonymous April 3, 2007 um 2:02 pm

I hear you Helen, my favorites is growing out to be an encyclopedia of sorts. 'Little Birdie' Apple bar is an adorable name for this cookie filled with apple goodness. An apple a day…

Anonymous April 3, 2007 um 2:54 pm

Hi Helen! How lovely – apple and almond make such a delicious paring… I’m not suprised that there were no leftovers!

I love your tale of the dog chasing a bird around the house while you were trying to bake! Ah, the things we put up with in our kitchens! 🙂

Patricia Scarpin April 3, 2007 um 4:00 pm

I have never made fruit bars, Helene, can you believe it?? I know, silly me! 😀

Apple and almonds together are delicious, Mary’s recipe and you making it… Perfection!

foodiemama April 3, 2007 um 4:37 pm

oh, wow i will be making these today with a few modifications to make it a little healthier!

Valentina April 3, 2007 um 4:59 pm

they look beautiful and delicious. I have struggled ab it with some bar recipes as I really have a tough time spreading the base on the tin. It never seems enough. Teh sad thing is that I am in love with bars.I must not give up.

Anuhea April 3, 2007 um 5:16 pm

I am staying tuned, and like you, those apple bars are on my list of recipes to try. Glad they turned out great, hopefully mine fair the same.

Clare April 3, 2007 um 5:18 pm

I am a total sucker for any kind of bar that involves cream cheese and an almond-flavored crust. These look absolutely divine and I can’t wait to try them!

Peabody April 3, 2007 um 8:01 pm

Okay, so now I have to make them.

Anonymous April 4, 2007 um 1:30 am

Oooh, we’re having a BBQ on the weekend, and I think I’ll be making this for dessert!

Freya April 4, 2007 um 4:36 pm

I love the name! Makes them seem delicate and fragile. Not many calories in them either!

Alpineberry Mary April 5, 2007 um 7:30 am

I’m glad you adapted my recipe Helene. Your bars look delicious. And I hope B got to try some. =)

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