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Nutty apple squares are an easy, old fashioned dessert that the whole family will love! The cinnamon sugar topping gives these chewy bars a wonderful finish.
Apples are one of the most popular fruits, and that’s certainly the case at my house.
No matter the season, my husband can be found in the kitchen grabbing an apple (or two) every single day.
While I enjoy just eating apples out of hand as well, I prefer to turn them into easy apple desserts like apple pie bars and these tasty old-fashioned apple squares.
Chances are you might have eaten these simple treats in your grandparents’ kitchen! Nutty and sweet, apple squares come together quickly.
We love the crackly cinnamon-sugar topping — in fact, my husband ate four squares right after I made them!
This recipe uses just one apple, so it’s a great way to use up the last apple in the bag!
Ingredients for apple squares
Full list of ingredients with quantities is shown in the recipe card.
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- fine sea salt
- ground cinnamon
- granulated sugar
- brown sugar
- unsalted butter (melted)
- vanilla extract
- apple (chopped)
- walnuts (chopped)
How to make this recipe
If you’ve ever made quick bread or muffins, this recipe is just as easy.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly coat a 9×9-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray or softened butter.
Chop your apple into small pieces and set aside. There’s no need to peel the apple.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and half of the cinnamon until evenly mixed.
In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, and the melted butter. It will look grainy and a bit like wet sand.
Mix in the egg and vanilla, stirring until smooth and blended.
Pour in the flour mixture and stir just until no dry streaks remain. The batter will be thick.
Fold in the apple chunks and walnuts.
Spread batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula or spoon to gently press the batter all the way to the edges and into the corners.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining granulated sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it evenly over the top of the bars.
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Let cool completely, then cut into squares and enjoy!
These bars store very well at room temperature.
To keep fresh, store the bars in an airtight container. I prefer to cut the bars before storing so it’s easier to grab one for a sweet treat!
The bars will last for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze the apple squares. I recommend slicing them and wrapping each individually in plastic or waxed paper, then storing in a freezer bag. Enjoy frozen squares within 3 months.
While I use walnuts in my apple bars, chopped pecans would also be a nice addition. You can toast them briefly to bring out even more nutty flavor.
Add other spices like ground nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger.
Drizzle with a simple icing once the bars have cooled for an even sweeter bite.
This recipe can easily be doubled to make thicker squares or to bake in a 9×13-inch pan.
Try this recipe with pears as well!
Tips & Tricks
The batter is meant to be thick. Avoid the urge to add liquid!
While I usually line my baking pans with parchment paper, I skip it for this recipe. I’ve found that with thick batters, the parchment makes it harder to spread in the pan. Just make sure to coat your pan with nonstick spray or butter.
Make sure to let the melted butter cool slightly before mixing with the sugars. We don’t want the egg to start cooking in the batter!
Do not overbake the apple squares. Overbaking will make the bars dry out instead of being chewy.
The crackly top can flake off when cutting, so use a large knife or bench scraper to cut straight down into the bars, rather than dragging with a butter knife.
More apple desserts you’ll love
Craving even more apples now?
My apple danish is a gorgeous dish that doubles for dessert and breakfast.
Mix up apple compote to serve over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
Apple squares are such a great, easy apple dessert. Whip up on a weekday or add to your Thanksgiving dessert lineup!
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It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.
For the topping
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9×9-inch square pan with nonstick spray.
- In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and melted butter until well blended. Stir in the egg and vanilla until smooth.
- Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients; the batter will be thick. Fold in the chopped apple and walnuts.
- Spread the batter into the prepared baking dish, gently pushing to the edges and corners.
- In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.
- You’ll need 1 small apple for this recipe. Enjoy any unused portion as a baker’s snack!
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.
I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…