My all-time favorite pie is apple pie (although this earl grey pie comes pretty darn close). I rarely make apple pie but this year I wanted to make a dessert with respect to the classic pie. By adding a pretzel crust and peanut pretzel streusel, I've created apple pretzel pie bars, which I will admit, are much easier to make. These bars are a fun version of apple pie and oh so delicious!
Apple Pretzel Pie Bars
- 1 ½ cups pretzel, crushed (168 grams)
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar (25 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup butter, melted (113 grams)
- 1 large egg white
- 9 cups sliced peeled granny smith apples (2 lb, about 7-8 medium apples)
- 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch (12 grams)
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ cup brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
Peanut pretzel streusel
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (74 grams)
- 6 tablespoon brown sugar (75 grams)
- ½ cup pretzels, crushed (56 grams)
- ½ cup peanuts, roasted, chopped (60 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small chunks (140 grams)
- vanilla ice cream or powdered sugar for serving optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Make the pretzel crust. Use a food processor to crush enough pretzels to make 2 cups. Set aside ½ cup and combine 1 ½ cups crushed pretzels with 2 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup melted butter, and 1 egg white until well mixed. Press the pretzel crust into the prepared baking pan in one even layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, peel and slice the granny smith apples about ¼ inch thick. Toss the apples with 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch, 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla. Lay the apples into the pretzel crust, spreading out the apples to fill in the gaps.
- Combine ½ cup all-purpose flour with ½ cup brown sugar, the reserved ½ cup crushed pretzels, ½ cup chopped roasted peanuts, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 10 tablespoon butter cut into chunks. Incorporate the butter using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembled coarse sand.
- Sprinkle the peanut pretzel streusel on top of the apples in one even layer. Bake the apple pie bars for 45 minutes- 1 hour or until a knife can easily pierce through the apples and the streusel is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
- Cut the apple pretzel pie into 12 bars and serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Dessert bars are the best because they're portable, easy to eat, and just darn good. These apple pretzel pie bars are no different.
The key ingredients you will need to prepare this dessert are pretzels, peanuts, granny smith apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Brown sugar and cinnamon are the main flavor components, making these bars a true fall dessert. I chose granny smith apples for a more tart apple pie bar but you can use sweet apples such as pink lady, golden delicious, or Braeburn instead.
Start by making the pretzel crust. A food processor will become your best friend when chopping up the pretzels, turning the snack into small crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, put the pretzels in a Ziploc bag and pound them with a mallet. Mix the pretzel crumbs with the remaining ingredients and press them into your prepared baking dish.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes and let it cool completely.
Meanwhile, slice and season the apples with brown sugar, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cornstarch, lemon, and vanilla. Pour the apples with all of their juices into the crust, gently pressing down on the apples to fill in any gaps.
Finally, make the peanut pretzel streusel. Use roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopping them into small pieces. You can also use a food processor to chop the peanuts. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the apples and bake the pie for about 45 minutes - 1 hour. If a knife can easily pierce through the apples, the pie is ready.
As tempting as it is to dig into the apple pie immediately, let it cool before slicing. The colder the pie is, the easier it will be to cut into.
If the pie bars are cold when you are ready to serve, pop them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes to warm them up. And of course, you can't forget the vanilla ice cream. If you used granny smith apples, a little caramel sauce or a sprinkle of powdered sugar doesn't hurt either!
These apple pretzel pie bars are everything I wanted: tons of apples, lovely notes of cinnamon, and incredibly tasty.
For more apple dessert inspiration check out this apple cardamom cake with pistachio cream!