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Apple Shortbread Square Recipe

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Apple Shortbread Squares

When dreaming up this  Apple Shortbread Square recipe, I wanted to create something with apple flavour, that wasn’t just a Fall recipe.  I mulled through all the traditional Christmas flavours like chocolate, cranberries, peppermint and cream cheese before thinking of shortbread.  Adding a shortbread crust makes this apple square recipe perfect for Christmas gatherings.

Shortbread apple squares, with a crumb crust. A Christmas recipe with apples, cinnamon and shortbread.

I am going to make some cookie recipes next week to add to my baking trays, but have to admit squares are so much easier to make when serving groups of people.   Depending on the other treats your making, you can add a sifting of confection sugar over the apple squares.  But I wanted the pretty golden colour on my dessert trays.

Apple Squares with Shortbread Christmas Recipe

The bottom layer of these squares is a single batch of my favorite shortbread cookie recipe.

Shortbread Layer

1/2 cup corn starch

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 cup flour

3/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 325.  Line a 8 by 8 pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, sift together corn starch, icing sugar and flour.  Add the butter and mix until a soft dough forms.  Transfer to the bottom of the pan and pat flat.  Bake at 325 10 minutes. Remove from oven.Apple Square with a Shortbread crust recipe for Christmas

Apple Filling Layer

4 granny smith apples

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

heaping tbsp minute tapioca

This is basically the filling from apple pie with tapioca to reduce the juices.  Too much juice will make the shortbread layer soggy.  To protect the shortbread layer from too much juice and overcooking, the apples are baked twice.  This also means you can bake the apples so that they are nice and soft without worrying about overcooking the other layers.

Turn your oven up to 350. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, add the sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and tapioca.  Toss until the apples are coated, taste and see if your apple is sweet enough.  If they are still sour add a a couple more tablespoons of sugar.

 

Baking apples in parchment paper for making Shortbread apple square recipes

Cover the apples with another sheet of parchment paper and bake at 350 for about half an hour or until your apples are soft.

Apple for a Apple squares recipe

Make the brown sugar topping while the apples cool.

Spread the baked apples over the shortbread just before adding the brown sugar topping layer.

Baked apple slice layer in a shortbread apple square recipe

Crumb Topping

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

Mix the brown sugar and butter together with your fingers until the size of peas.  Then add your flour.

The crumb layer for a shortbread apple square for Christmas

Mix well and sprinkle over top of the cooked apples.

Bake at 350 until golden brown, about twenty minutes.  Cut into squares for serving.

Apple and shortbread squares recipe. A from scratch holiday recipe

Apple Square with a Shortbread crust recipe for Christmas

Twice Baked Apple Squares

Something a little bit different for Christmas. A shortbread layer covered with not too sweet fresh apple filling.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Shortbread Layer

  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup butter

Apple Filling

  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon or to taste
  • 1 tbsp minute tapioca

Crumb Topping

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour

Instructions

Shortbread Crust Layer

  • Preheat oven to 325. Line a 8 by 8 pan with parchment
  • In a large bowl, sift together corn starch, icing sugar and flour.
  • Add the butter and mix until a soft dough forms.
  • Transfer to the bottom of the pan and pat flat. Bake at 325 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Apple Filling Layer

  • To protect the shortbread layer the apples are baked twice.
  • Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, add the apples, sugar, cinnamon and tapioca.
  • Toss until the apples are coated, taste and see if your apple is sweet enough.
  • Cover the apples with another sheet of parchment paper and bake at 350 for half an hour until your apples are soft.
  • Spread the apples over the shortbread just before adding the brown sugar topping layer
  • Mix the brown sugar and butter together with your fingers until the size of peas. Then add your flour. Mix well and pour over top of the cooked apples.

Brown Sugar Crumb Topping

  • While the apples bake make the brown sugar topping, you want to have the topping ready to place on top of the baked apples as soon as you transfer them to the shortbread.
Servings: 16 squares

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