Celebrating apple season the best way with these apple pretzel pie bars! With a pretzel crust, cinnamon apple filling, and peanut pretzel streusel topping, these bars will have you coming back for seconds and thirds.
Apple Pretzel Pie Bars
- 1 ½ cups pretzels, crushed (168 grams)
- 2 tablespoons 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 tablespoons cornstarch (12 grams)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ cup brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
Peanut pretzel streusel
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (74 grams)
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar (75 grams)
- ½ cup pretzels, crushed (56 grams)
- ½ cup peanuts, roasted, chopped (60 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 tablespoons 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 (168 grams) with brown sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, and 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 cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, brown sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Lay the apples into the pretzel crust, spreading out the apples to fill in the gaps.
- Make the streusel. Combine all-purpose flour with brown sugar, the reserved ½ cup crushed pretzels, chopped roasted peanuts, cinnamon, and cold butter. 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 slightly.
- Cut the apple pretzel pie into 12 bars and serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.
Watch how to make this:
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!
- Pretzels: You can use pretzel sticks or regular pretzels. I personally prefer to use the mini pretzels because they are easier to crush in the food processor.
- Egg white: The egg white helps bind together the crust, helping it keep its shape.
- Granny Smith apples: Use apples that hold their shape well while baking such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, and Cortland apples.
- Cornstarch: The starch helps thicken the juices that are released from the apples during baking.
- Spices: We're using a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to bring warm notes to the dessert. You can also add additional spices such as allspice and ginger if you like.
- Peanuts: For a rich, nutty flavor component, we're adding peanuts to the streusel. If you can't have peanuts, substitute them with another nut such as almonds or pecans.
How to Make Apple Pretzel Pie Bars
Step 1: Make the crust
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.
Step 2: Prepare the filling
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.
With combining the streusel with the butter, I find it easiest to use your hands and really get in there. If you have a pastry cutter, this tool will also come in handy.
Step 3: Bake
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 slightly before slicing. The cooler the pie is, the easier it will be to cut into.
If the pie bars are very cold when you are ready to serve, pop them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes to warm them up. You can also enjoy these bars at room temperature. 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.
Can I make this dessert gluten-free?
Yes, you can use gluten-free pretzels and gluten-free all-purpose flour instead of regular all-purpose flour.
Is it necessary to crush the pretzels in a food processor?
Using a food processor ensures a consistent and fine texture for the pretzels in the crust. You can crush them manually, but a processor is recommended for best results and for convenience.
Can I freeze these bars?
Yes, these bars can be frozen. Ensure they are well-wrapped to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator and warm in the oven before serving.
For more apple dessert inspiration check out this apple cardamom cake with pistachio cream!