Friday, October 24, 2014

Danish Apple Bars with Brown Butter Frosting

Our apple crop this year has not been nearly so large as last year, and the quality of the apples is lesser also.  However, we have taken the opportunity to make a couple of these Danish Apple Bars. This is a perfect seasonal recipe for autumn when apples can seem to be multiplying before your very eyes and while the chickens begin to respond to the waning daylight by slackening off on their laying.

The first step is to cut 1 cup of vegetable shortening into 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour and a scant teaspoon of salt.  I always use a pastry blender for this job.

Shortening, flour, and salt blended together.
Next, place an egg yolk in a measuring cup.  Add a little vanilla and enough water or milk to make 2/3 c. of wet ingredients.  Beat the mixture until well combined.

The egg yolk, vanilla, and milk combined to make 2/3 cup.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine.  Do not over beat!  This is a pastry after all.
The completed pastry dough.
Divide the dough in half and roll one half into a 10x15-inch rectangle.  Line the bottom of a 10x15 jelly roll pan with this bottom crust.
The bottom crust in the jelly roll pan.
Next, peel eight to ten small baking apples and slice them thin as for pie.  Spread these on top of the bottom crust.  On top of the apples, sprinkle two handfuls of corn flakes (to absorb some of the moisture from the apples), one cup sugar, and one teaspoon of cinnamon.  I also added some raisins because I love them--in everything.  

The apple, corn flake, sugar, cinnamon, (and raisin) mixture.
Roll out the other half of the crust and put it on top of the fruit mixture.  Seal the edges.  Beat the egg white and brush it over the top of the upper crust.

The Danish Apple Bars ready to go into the oven.  My second
one of these of the season looked a lot better.
Bake in a moderately hot oven for 45-60 minutes.  The recipe says to bake it at 400 degrees for that amount of time, but I think that an oven closer to 375 degrees for about forty minutes seems better.  You be the judge based on how brown you want the crust to be and how thickly you have sliced the apples.
Danish Apple Bars baking in the oven of Marjorie, the Margin
Gem cookstove.

The finished bars.  The second batch of these was not so dark,
partly because I didn't put the egg white on top.

And now for my favorite part of the whole thing: the frosting!

Some of you may recall that I had written about the Applishus booths at the Iowa State Fair and how wonderful I consider their frosting.  This recipe is so similar to what they use that it may be the very same recipe.  I found it on page 339 of the 463-page Kitchen Klatter cookbook, a wonderful collection of recipes that I sometimes call "the southwest Iowa kitchen bible."  This was a very popular cookbook in our area in the middle of the last century, and it remains so popular that they are very hard to come by.

For the frosting, melt 1/4 cup of butter.

A half stick of butter melting over the fire.

Gently brown the butter.

Add the browned butter to two cups of powdered sugar.  Add 2 Tbls. cream, 2 Tbls. hot water, and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

The finished frosting.
Drizzle frosting over the pastry.

Here are the same recipes in a little more accessible form:
Danish Apple Bars
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. vegetable shortening
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
enough water or milk with the above to ingredients to make 2/3 c.
Directions: Mix as for pie crust.  Roll out half to cover the bottom of a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan.
8-10 medium baking apples
1 c. sugar
2 handfuls corn flakes
1 tsp. cinnamon
Directions: 1. Peel and core apples, slice thin. 
2. Spread apples and rest of filling ingredients on bottom crust.
3. Roll out top crust and place over apple filling.  Seal edges.
4. Beat egg white and brush over top crust if desired.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes until apples are done.  (See what I think about this above.)
 Brown Butter Frosting
(p. 339 of the Kitchen Klatter Cookbook, The Prairie Press, 17th Printing, March 1978)
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbls. cream
2 Tbls. hot water
1 1/2 tsp. Kitchen Klatter vanilla flavoring
Melt butter or margarine over a low flame until golden brown.  Remove from fire and add sugar, cream, water and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and creamy.
I have also used this recipe for making apple strudel.  Instead of making the pastry into bars that will be cut into squares, I roll the pastry out, put the apple filling along one side, then start rolling the fruit up in the pastry.  It works pretty slick.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.


  1. Sounds like a delicious recipe to enjoy on a rainy fall day!

  2. Looks like a good recipe. Hopefully my four apple trees will be bearing next year!

  3. Hey Jim how are you doing? I hope well. I just had a question about painting my stove like yours. Can you do that? If so what kinda paint do you get?

    God Bless,

    1. Hi, Rick!

      I'm a little unsure about what you mean in your questions. None of my ranges are painted, but are all coated in porcelain enamel.

      That said, you can purchase various colors of high temperature stove paints that you can use on your stove if you wish. Stove Bright is one such brand. Even if you don't actually fire your stove, I would highly recommend using the high temperature paints because you don't know what may happen in the future. Nothing makes me more frustrated than seeing a perfectly good stove that has been spray painted with any old paint that will be a mess to burn off from the surface before it can be used again.