With 3 kids plus a husband who works from home, someone is always hungry. Sure, I buy granola bars and other processed snacks, but I don’t like it. I am not shaming anyone here; it is more that I am a stay-at-home mom who has always enjoyed baking and gosh darnitt, I should bake snacks for my kids! In a perfect world, they would be whole grain, no sugar, filled to the brim with superfoods….but lets be honest here: it is hard enough to carve out time to bake up a bunch of tidbits as it is right now. I am not adding to the stress by being militant about ingredients at all times. I try to provide healthy meals and choices for the kids…and then also give myself some grace when a little vegetable oil sneaks into a baked good or two. We are all doing our best, amiright?
I have found that having a day where I just bake up a ton of stuff and freeze it is one of the most efficient uses of my time in this season of life (that season being where I spend far more time in my car than in my kitchen). I try to gather a bunch of recipes on Pinterest that look delicious or easy or something the kids will love, then make sure I grab extra ingredients when I run to the store 15 times a week. The pumpkin bars I whipped up one night while dinner was cooking (which is a minor miracle since I am near comatose with fatigue by the time dinner is cooking). The apple bars are a little more time consuming, but also are basically a slab apple pie and totally worth a few extra minutes.
Two recipes I made this go around are ones my mom passed down: Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting and My great-aunt Shirley’s Frosted Apple bars. The apple bars specifically are a family favorite and we look forward to scarfing them down whenever possible.
Frosted Apple Bars
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1 1/2 cups
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 eggs, seperated
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 1/2 cups of cornflakes, crushed
- 10 apples, peeled, pared and thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix the flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and salt together and cut in the shortening. Add in the egg yolks and water and mix it into a ball. Roll out half of the dough to fit a 12 x 18″ jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with the cornflakes (A KEY TO THIS RECIPE!!!). Mix the apples with the cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups of sugar, then put on top of the dough. Roll out other half of the dough and use it to cover the apples. Beat 2 egg whites and brush on top of the dough. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. You can make a simple drizzle for the bars by combining a half of cup of powdered sugar with a tablespoon of milk, and lightly drizzle over the bars once cooled.
Note: I did sub butter for the shortening this year and had fantastic success! I didn’t even use cold butter, it was room temp. I know, breaking all of the rules!
Pumpkin Bars and Frosting
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 15 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teapoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon clove
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped nuts
Mix the eggs, sugar and pumpkin together then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and pour into a greased and floured 12 x 18″ jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Top with cream cheese frosting [I just used a basic cream cheese frosting that I found on Pinterest. Feel free to use whatever you want, but definitely don’t skip it!].
Lastly, I made a batch of apple cinnamon bread, which you can find the recipe for (along with some other fall recipes I am planning to try over the next few weeks) on our Pinterest board. Hope you loves these recipes as much as we do!