Apple Crumble Bars

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The Straits Times

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013

  • Who: Ms Evangeline Koh, 22, music student at the Singapore Bible College

    During the festive season, Ms Koh's gifts of apple crumble bars double as a delicious Christmas snack for friends and family.

    She usually bakes them on weekends so that her boyfriend, Mr Benjamin Lee, 20, a pilot, can take them on trips and share them with his friends.

    Mr Lee says: "It's always heartwarming to have homemade snacks during long periods apart from each other. Usually when I offer them to my friends, I'm left with an empty box."

    Her Christmas spin on the apple crumble bar recipe is to add dried cranberries to the apple mixture and to use them as a garnish too.

    The bars are then wrapped in either brown paper or cellophane, complete with twine or ribbons and handwritten gift tags.

    As her pastor parents have to preach in church on Christmas Day, the occasion is a simple affair for her family of five. She has two younger brothers aged 19 and 20.

    Ms Koh, who also cooks Christmas meals for her friends and family, says: "Everyone is busy nowadays, so we may not necessarily decorate the house. But we gather for a meal and spend quality time together."

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  • Crust
  • 340g unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Filling
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 12 Granny Smith apples (about 2.7kg), peeled, cored and sliced thinly
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup water (optional)
  • Topping
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cup brown sugar
  • 1¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 340g unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Dried cranberries for garnish
  • 1. Preheat oven to 190 deg C.
  • 2. For the crust: In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed for about two minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • 3. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms.
  • 4. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking tray with parchment paper.
  • 5. With your hands, press the dough onto the pan, creating an even layer about 1cm thick.
  • 6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and set. Remove from oven to cool on a rack.
  • 7. For the filling: In a deep pot, melt the butter with the brown sugar. Add apples and cranberries. Cook over high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 8. Add cinnamon powder and ground nutmeg.
  • 9. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the apples caramelise and any liquid has evaporated. If necessary, add up to ½ cup of water to prevent the apples from burning. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • 10. For the topping: In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the oats with the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon powder, baking soda and salt.
  • 11. Mix cubed butter in until the mixture resembles thick clumps.
  • 12. Assemble the apple crumble: Scoop the apple filling over the crust and spread into an even layer.
  • 13. Sprinkle the butter clumps on top of the apples and gently press them into an even layer.
  • 14. Bake for 1 hour, until the topping is golden. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
  • 15. Cool the crumble completely on a rack, before cutting into bars with a sharp knife.
  • 16. Garnish with dried cranberries and serve.
  • Makes about 48 bars