Butterscotch Apple Crisp

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This Butterscotch Apple Crisp is a tasty fall dessert recipe that’s super easy to make, using a pie crust and other simple ingredients. I really hope you give it a try soon! Up your fall baking game with Butterscotch Apple Crisp, a decadent apple dessert topped with a crunchy crust of nuts, oats and flaky cinnamon.

Butterscotch Apple Crisp

Butterscotch apple crisp brings together the tangy crunch of granny smith apples with the sweetness of bourbon butterscotch sauce. Top it off with a buttery streusel oatmeal topping for all the flavors of a classic apple pie, but with much less time and effort. As they say: It’s easier than apple pie! Read on for my tips and check out the video on making the bourbon butterscotch sauce, or skip on down to the recipe and get cooking!

It’s laced with the most decadent bourbon butterscotch sauce, with a sweet buttery texture and just a hint of spice. Can you just imagine the aroma of apples and cinnamon wafting through the air as you pull this out of the oven? There is something so cozy about that smell that evokes all the comforts of fall.

The best part about this decadent treat is that it is easy. Yep, today we aren’t just making a decadently gourmet treat, but we are doing it with a fraction of the effort that it takes to make an apple pie.

The Apples

I chose granny smith apples the first time I made this crisp because I picked up a whole bushel of them while apple picking. Even after testing this cobbler with honey crisp, gala, and macintosh apples, granny smith will always be my go to for this butterscotch apple crisp recipe.

First, I love how the tart tanginess of the granny smith plays against the sweetness of the butterscotch sauce. The honeycrisp and gala apples made for a dessert that was way too sweet for my tastes.

Also, when I’m eating a crumble, crisp, or cobbler I like when I can identify the chunks of fruit. The granny smith does a much better job of keeping it’s structure when it’s baked, as it doesn’t easily turn into mush.

Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce

What makes this recipe truly special is the bourbon butterscotch sauce. Similar to a caramel sauce (and why at one point this recipe was called a Caramel Apple Crumble) a butterscotch sauce is made from sugar, butter, and heavy cream. Caramel uses white granulated sugar, while butterscotch uses brown sugar.

For this crisp we are going back to my roots and taking the flavor profiles up a notch by swapping out the vanilla for old fashioned Kentucky bourbon.

Crumble vs. Crisp

When it comes to the world of crumbles and crisps the terms both describe fruit based desserts with a buttery, streusel like topping. For the longest time I thought the names were a regional difference instead of a culinary difference. Still many people use the terms interchangeably, but there is an actual difference between the two.

For a crumble that topping typically consists of butter, sugar, and flour. A crisp goes one step farther and adds a dried cereal, like oats, to the mixture. The oats toast up in the oven, making the topping a little less dense and giving its namesake crispy crunch.

I have always preferred the crispiness that is a crisp without knowing the difference. Hence, my apple crumble recipe is now properly names an apple crisp recipe.

Tips for a Perfect Crisp

  1. After the apples macerate in the caramel sauce, scoop them into the pan using a slotted spoon. Adding the macerated liquid into baking dish will leave you with a watery mess instead of a crispy crisp.
  2. You can use a pie pan, casserole dish, or (my choice) cast iron skillet for this crisp. If your apples go all the way to the top, place a sheet pan on the lower rack in the oven to catch any drips in case it bubbles over.
  3. Spread the crisp topping as evenly as possible over the fruit.
  4. You’ll know it’s done when the filling is bubbling and the topping turns golden brown.

When I first set out to make this I thought I was making a bourbon apple crumble. With the latest update, I’ve changed the name to reflect that it uses a butterscotch sauce instead of caramel and that it is in fact a crisp and not a crumble. In fact, you may have found this recipe through pinterest with the label Bourbon Apple Crumble or Caramel Apple Crumble. The truth is, it’s still the same recipe, but by a different name

Butterscotch Apple Crisp

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 5 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

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Filling:

5 Granny Smith apples (about 2 pounds), peeled and roughly chopped

1 (11-ounce) bag butterscotch chips

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing

Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup quick oats

Pinch kosher salt

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Butter pecan ice cream, for servingAdd to Shopping List

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
  2. For the filling: Toss the apples, butterscotch chips, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Add to the buttered baking dish and dot with butter.
  3. For the topping: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, oats, and salt. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in the pecans and sprinkle over the filling.
  4. Bake until the apples are tender and butterscotch is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Plate with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream on top.

The Benefits of Sauteing the Apples Before Baking.

Additionally, this recipe softens the apples by sauteeing them before baking. I find this to be a much better technique when baking cobblers or crisps. This ensures all of the apples are cooked consistently, cuts down on the baking time and also allows for using bigger chucks of apple for the recipe.

What Are The Best Apples For Baking?

Trying to decide the best apples for baking is a very common question that comes up time and time again. There are certain apples that are great for eating as is, and others which are great for baking. Apples that are good for baking tend to keep their shape and not get too mushy. They are also more tart than sweet. This particular recipe uses Granny Smith and Red Apples, but you can use any of the apples listed below. Mixing your apples with some that are more tart and others that are more sweet can produce a very delicious apple cobbler.

  • Granny Smith – this is one of the most popular apples for baking. It is nice and tart preventing recipes from becoming too sweet and also holds its shape nicely.
  • Jonagold  – these apples are a hybrid of Jonathen Apples and Golden Delicious. They are slightly sweeter than a Granny Smith Apple and also hold their shape nicely when baked. These apples are also great for eating fresh.
  • Honey Crisp – one of the easiest apples to find are Honey Crisp. Their snappy crisp texture means they hold up exceptionally well when baking. As their name implies, they have a more honeyed sweetness, yet are still mild enough for baking.
  • Braeburn – Braeburns are definitely one of the best apples for baking if you’re planning on having the apples be visible such as in a tart. They have an exceptionally beautiful skin and even begin to turn pink when baking. They also keep their firmness and wont break down when baking. Their flavor is a nice mix of sweet and tart.
  • Cortland – a nice feature of this apple viraety is that their flesh does not brown as quickly making them a great addition to cheese boards, as well as baking. They are sloghtly juicier and a little sweeter than some of the other apples. This would be a great apple to mix in with more tart varietals like the Grannysmith apples.

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