As a child, I remember having apple squares at my Nana’s house right around this time of the year. They were almost like handheld pie, with a layer of sweet and sticky apple between two layers of a pie crust-like dough. They were good. I have her recipe and started to make some last night, but remembered as I scanned the ingredient list that the secret to making these just like Nana is a layer of cornflakes between the apples and the crust. I have no cornflakes in the house. Shucks. I will have to wait to make Nana’s apple squares.
However, the overflowing bowl of apples on my bench dictated that I need to do something to use a few before I lost them. As such, I made the following version instead. This is a cake-like apple square, heavy on cinnamon and very moist. I used apple butter to increase the apple-y flavor, which in turn makes it a lower-fat recipe than an all-oil version. Based on the result, you should probably make these, too.
- 4 medium apples*, peeled and diced
- 1 c. pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c. applesauce or apple butter
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and set aside.
Peel and dice your apples and set aside. In a large bowl, sift the flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together; make a well and add eggs, oil, applesauce/apple butter and vanilla. Stir carefully by hand (don’t use a mixer) until the dry ingredients are all incorporated. The batter will be thick. Fold in apples and pecans, if using, and combine thoroughly. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and serve.
*Use a mix of tart and sweet apples if you can: I used 2 Macintosh and 2 Gala.
Note: if you don’t have applesauce or apple butter on hand, you can leave it out and increase your canola oil to 3/4 c. I like the lightness the finished product has when I use apple butter.