Friday, April 24, 2015

[Cookie 106] Apple-Cherry Crumble Bars

Ok, so let's talk about crumbles.  Actually, before we talk about that, let's get some clarifications out of the way.  A crumble is not a cobbler, which is not a crisp either.  Now, they're all damn good, that's for sure, and they all have fruit underneath some kind of pastry topping, but that's where the similarities end.  And up until right now, I never couldn't differentiate them for the life of me.  I knew that I likes the ones that had a streusel-like topping, but you know, WORDS, definitions, names--screw em!  I could never remember which was which.  So here's the low-down:

Cobblers have a biscuit topping.  Not so into those, to be honest.  I mean, if you put one in front of me, I'm not going to NOT eat it, but if I have a choice, I'm going the crunchier, crumblier route.  Apparently cobblers can also be made with a cake batter or cookie dough crust, but that just sounds fucked up to me.  Again, I would eat it if you presented it to me, but I'd be skeptical.  Why combine so many delicious desserts?? I want one of everything, separately.

Crumbles are very similar to crisps.  They both got that baller streusel-ish topping, which is clearly better than a biscuit topping, I mean come on.  But there is a finer difference between these two.  CRISPS GOT THEM OATS IN EM! And that, my friends, is the clincher, for me at least.  I'm a crunchy, hippie-dippy type, so anything with whole grains and some toothiness to it will always get my vote.  

Now, I got all these great details from this informative post on the Kitchn, so of course I'm not liable if they're incorrect and lose you a trivia contest.  But it makes sense to me.  Oats are crispy! And guess what? This recipe has oats in it, but they call it an Apple-Cherry Crumble Bar! Better reevaluate, Martha!

Regardless, these are pretty bomb, especially if you're into crisps, crumbles, or even cobblers.  The nicest part is the filling though.  It's a combination of dried apples and cherries simmered in apple cider.  Pretty perfect for an blustery autumn day, which is why I am writing about it in April (hey, this one goes out to you, southern-hemispherers!)

The recipe is easy, hearty, and tasty.  No promises though on how tasty, since I made it about a year and a half ago and I have a really shitty memory.  Sorry! I don't have any horrible memories of throwing up after eating it, so there's that.  I've reread the recipe and baked it all again in my mind, and it tastes mentally delicious.  So go for it! Git bakin' :)

Apple-Cherry Crumble Bars
Makes 2 dozen


  • 3 cups dried apples, about 7 ounces
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries, about 4 1/2 ounces
  • 1 3/4 cups apple cider
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for dish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Simmer apples, cherries, and cider in a covered saucepan, stirring occasionally, until fruits are softened and plump, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. Let cool.
  2. Coarsely chop fruit. Combine with 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and reserved cooking liquid.
  3. Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, salt, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until crumbs range in size from peas to gum balls. Press 4 cups of oat mixture into bottom of prepared dish. Spread fruit filling on top, leaving a 1/4-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top.
  4. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool in dish on a wire rack. Cut into 24 bars. Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

{End Results}
Baking Difficulty: 2/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 3/5 (If you can't find dried cherries, try cranberries; if you can't find dried apples, don't make these!)
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 1/5 (When has a crumble ever been beautiful?)
Is it worth it?: Ya

Drink: Hot toddy would be nice
Activity: Crumble some crisps for your local cobbler

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