Apple Shortbread Squares Recipe: The Taste of Fall From Ina Garten by Terri Kendrick

Desserts Fruit Snacks
7 months ago

Apple Shortbread Squares Recipe: The Taste of Fall From Ina Garten

I was hosting some friends for a happy hour on our patio on a crisp fall evening and this apple bar recipe from Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) looked like the perfect counterpoint to my spread of savory apps. Who doesn’t love the cinammon-y, nutmeg-y goodness of baked apples as the weather starts cooling off?!

This apple shortbread recipe isn’t something you want to tackle on the fly, as it requires a lot of ingredients and multiple steps. However, once it's filling your kitchen with the fragrance of those apple pie spices, you'll be glad you put in the time and effort!

To make this fall apple dessert you will need butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, flour, salt, ground cinnamon, fresh apples, lemon juice and nutmeg. Serve this apple shortbread right out of the oven for a spotlight-stealing dessert or chilled as a snack.

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Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour (includes chilling time)
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 24




  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced in 1/8-inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

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Recipe Notes

  • Use any kind of large apples that you like (I used Granny Smith and Gala).
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, get the crust started with your hand mixer and use a wooden spoon and some elbow grease to fully blend. It’ll take a little longer and you might break a sweat, but it works!
  • You can add walnuts or other chopped nuts to the top crust.
  • In addition to greasing the baking pan, you can line it with parchment paper, extending the paper up the sides so you can easily lift the baked good out to make cutting easier.
  • Flour your hands before pressing the shortbread mixture into the pan to keep it from sticking.
  • After the pan cools, store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
  • If you’re not an experienced baker, this recipe may take longer than two hours.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and use an an electric mixer on medium speed to blend until creamy. A paddle attachment makes quick work of the mixing, but if you only have a hand mixer like me, see Recipe Notes.
  2. Sift the flour and salt together. Slowly add these ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture, beating until combined. The mixture will be very thick.
  3. In a greased 13x9-inch baking pan, press two-thirds of the crust mixture in the bottom of the pan and about 1/2 inch up the sides (this will be the lip to hold in your filling). Pop the pan in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the cinnamon to the remaining crust mixture and set aside. Do not refrigerate.
  5. In a preheated 375-degree F oven, bake the refrigerated shortbread crust for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
  6. While the crust is cooling, mix the apple slices with the lemon juice, sugar and spices.
  7. Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat and add the apple mixture, stirring frequently. Allow the filling to simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the apples are tender and the liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  8. Spread the apple filling evenly over the cooled crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.
  9. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining crust mixture on top of the filling (the filling will not be completely covered by crust) and bake in a 350-degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until brown.
  10. Let cool for at least 10 or 15 minutes before cutting into small squares or bars.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 224

Total Fat: 15.4g

Saturated Fat: 9.7g

Cholesterol: 40mg

Sodium: 110mg

Total Carbohydrate: 22g

Dietary Fiber: 1.1g

Total Sugars: 16.9g

Protein: 0.8g

Vitamin D: 11mcg

Calcium: 9mg

Iron: 0mg

Potassium: 53mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
OMGoodness, Terri Kendrick , I can almost smell these baking in my oven right now. I made cinnamon apples this weekend to top our pancakes, and this recipe takes that aroma and taste to the next level. WOW!
Terri Kendrick
They were so good that I had to freeze the leftovers to keep from eating them all!!!

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