It’s National Cookie Day, friends!
It is also 61F here in my corner of CA today, and clear as a bell. There is not even clouds in the forecast let alone, you know, weather. It’s part of what spoils a person about living here, and one of the top responses one hears when someone dares to question living in such a place (“…but the weather…”).

What it does not lend itself to, though, is that wintry, snowy, bundle-up-for-the cold and hunker down with a hot cocoa feeling. I’m getting there, but my roll is slow. I still have apples, for goodness sake; I’m just not ready for all of the incredibly adorable Christmas-themed cookies taking over my Instagram and FB feeds. They’re inspiring, but also come on- it’s Monday and I don’t have the time.

So let’s you and I make a batch of bars. Apple-Date Bars, to be exact. With a crumb top and brown butter glaze. Because Winter-adjacent is great, so are bar cookies, and so are you.

Apple-Date Bars with Brown Butter Glaze

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cold water
4-6 (5 cups) medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4″ thick
3/4 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Combine the first 2 cups of flour, the salt, and the butter in a medium bowl with a fork. The mixture will be crumbly. Set aside one cup. Mix in the cold water. Mix just until evenly combined, being carefule not to overmix (it’ll be tough if you do). Press the dough evenly across the bottom of a lightly greased 13″x9″x2″ pan.
In a larger bowl, combine the apples, dates, sugar, and vanilla. Layer evenly over the crust.
Combine the reserved flour mixture with the brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Sprinkle in an even layer over the apples. Bake for 35-45 minutes.

While the bars are baking, make the glaze*:
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp whole milk
Small pinch of salt

Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the milk solids sink to the bottom and turn golden brown. When this happens, it happens quickly, so don’t burn the butter. Immediately remove from heat and pour just the liquid into a heat resistant bowl, leaving the browned bits in the pan. Add the other ingredients to the bowl and whisk until smooth.
Drizzle over the cooled apple bars. Cut into 24 pieces and eat with reckless abandon.

*This glaze recipe was lifted directly from The Spruce’s recipe here, which believe me needs to be in your life.

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