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If you bake nothing else this season, bake these: Apple Pie Bars

If you bake nothing else this season, bake these: Apple Pie Bars
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As you may imagine, Andrew goes all out every Holiday season with baked goods that are not only extraordinarily good, they cover all kinds of desserts. For Thanksgiving just past, he made Apple Pie Bars, two pies, Blueberry and Chocolate Cream, and a Ginger Spice Cake. (He also whipped up about 48 gougères on Thanksgiving morning.) But it was the Apple Pie Bars that got everyone’s attention.  Here is something as American as…Apple Pie.  There’s a walnut studded oatmeal streusel-like topping that covers a Granny Smith filling atop a crisp buttery shortbread crust.  It’s an American Classic made into individual squares of apple goodness that just beg for a scoop of ice cream…although I caught our children and grandchild unable to resist this treat long enough to get out the ice cream scoop.

The Big Sugar Bakeshop in Studio City, LA.
The origin of this recipe is Los Angele’s Big Sugar Bakeshop.  Opened about 10 years ago in Studio City (12182 Ventura Blvd. LA 91604 Tel: (818) 508-5855), the bakery set out to create traditional American baked goods. They’ve been so successful that they opened a second bakery in downtown Los Angeles (612 South Flower Street (on the Wilshire Blvd. side of the building) Suite 104 LA 90017 Tel: (213) 489 1201. Owners Lisa Ritter and Mary Odson write “Everything we bake is still done in small batches throughout the day, all by hand only using a mixer and an oven. We continue to use the finest natural ingredients. We still crack cage-free eggs and our dairy comes from a local provider that treats cows humanely. We also use ingredients that do not contain any animal by-products so that’s why you won’t see marshmallow items in our bakery case. We use fine imported chocolate from Belgium and France and yes, you most definitely can taste the difference.”  Big Sugar must be like coming to our house when Andrew is there.  Credit for the recipe goes to Cathy Odson, Mary’s sister. Just one thing:  I don’t know where Big Sugar gets its baking sheets but ours are not 15 x 17. Andrew made this in a baking sheet that’s a standard 13 x 17 and the proportions in the recipe worked out just fine.  Apologies for a camera error that didn’t allow us to show you the Pastry making part of the process.  Here is the recipe:

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