Is there anything more classic American than apple pie—preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? No, no there’s not. The sweet comforting flavors of apples, flaky crust, and cinnamon-y seasonings make this a much-loved American dessert. But, instead of supplying you with one of our myriad apple pie recipes (you probably have your own go-to), we’re switching things up with some apple pie inspiration. From bars to cookies to cocktails, we’ve got a bevy of apple-icious options, bringing the apple pie to entirely new places.
Apple pie bars
We’re of the belief that any dessert can be made into a cute, portable dessert bar. These bars have all the flavors of apple pie—cinnamon, brown sugar, two kinds of apples—and make an ideal sweet snack on-the-go.
4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. For the crust, place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined. Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the walnuts and cinnamon, and mix on low speed to combine. Set aside.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees. For the filling, combine the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Melt the butter in a large pot, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
Pinch medium pieces of the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool completely and cut into bars.
Hot buttered cider
In the cool weather, we love to curl up with a warming cocktail or whip up a batch for a winter party. This sweet and salty cocktail is a take on hot buttered rum, with the addition of apple cider, maple syrup, and vanilla. Apple pie, meet rum.
Apple pie sundaes
Though you don’t have to serve them in mason jars, these apple pie sundaes are pretty adorable scooped into the little glass containers. Even better? Add a nice dollop of whipped cream on top.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups peeled and chopped apples
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup water plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Store-bought vanilla ice cream
Store-bought caramel sauce
To make the apple topping, heat the butter in a medium-large skillet. Stir in the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Heat until the fruit begins to release its juices. Add ½ cup of water to the pan and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cook until the apples are just fork tender but not mushy. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch, and whisk lightly until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples and cook 1-2 minutes more, until the mixture has thickened. Let cool thoroughly.
To assemble the sundaes add two or three scoops of ice cream to a small bowl or multiple bowls. Top each sundae with cinnamon apples, caramel sauce and whipped cream. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon and serve immediately. Store any leftover caramel in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Reheat caramel briefly before using to achieve the right consistency.
Apple pie cake
Maybe you’re more of a cake person, or maybe you just want a new way of enjoying your fave fall flavors. Whatever the reason, you won’t regret making this comforting apple-filled dessert topped with a crumbly, sweet, cinnamon crumble.
Apple pie cookies
These mini-pies are halfway between cookie and pie, and as a result, are totally irresistible. Cinnamon and nutmeg-laced apple pie filling is sandwiched in between rounds of dough, then baked to golden brown goodness.
2 store-bought pie crusts
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
½ cup caramel sauce
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or use a non-stick sheet. Bring crusts to room temperature as per package instructions. Chop the apple pie filling so the apples are in small chunks.
Beat the egg with the water in a small bowl. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.
Dust your work surface with a little bit of flour. Carefully unroll one of the pie crusts and place on the lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough very gently until it’s just slightly thinner. Spread the caramel sauce over the entire crust. Spread the pie filling on top of the caramel sauce. Carefully roll out the second crust and place that on a lightly floured surface. Roll as for the first crust, just slightly thinner. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut this crust into approx ½-inch strips. This is for the lattice top.
Form lattice over the top of the other filled crust. Using a round cookie cutter that’s about 2-3-inches in diameter, cut individual “cookies” and using a spatula to lift them, place on prepared baking sheet.
Brush the tops of each cookie with the egg wash. Sprinkle each cookie with the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lattice tops are golden brown. Cool slightly and remove to a rack or plate to cool further. Makes 1 giant 10-inch cookie or about 6 smaller cookies.
Apple pie cheesecake
Cheesecake and apple crisp conspire together to make this fall friendly dessert. We love adding a fluffy dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel on top.
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