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The Best Apple Crisp You’ll Ever Have {with brown butter, vanilla bean, + bourbon}

The BEST apple crisp you’ll ever have, with brown butter, vanilla bean and a splash of bourbon! Perfect for holidays and enjoying in the fall.

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour 20 mins

the best apple crisp

I hope you all had a magical Thanksgiving full of good food and major amounts of pie to put a smile on your face. Sorry I have been so busy lately traveling that blogging has been difficult.

My Thanksgiving was lovely and full of laughter. We had roasted turkey, green bean casserole, blueberry brie cheese over Italian crackers, sour cream mashed potato, and an incredible sweet potato casserole with an oatmeal pecan brown sugar streusel. Three days later, I’m still not sick of leftovers.

making the best apple crisp

I wish I would have snapped photos of how beautiful everything turned out, but I was too busy running around the kitchen and enjoying time spent with good people. However, I have to admit that I tried to make some of the dishes healthy because I knew that I had to have dessert; which on Thanksgiving is actually more like my main meal. This year’s included a ridiculous chocolate ganache pie with a toasted marshmallow topping and this stupidly good apple crisp served warm and topped with vanilla bean ice cream.

I was in a food coma for a good 36 hours.

Obviously worth it.

collage of eating the best apple crisp

A couple of months ago Joanna of A Cup of Jo asked me if I would create a recipe for her basic food series. Of course, I said yes!

At first I wasn’t sure which recipe I would share, but since I’ve been making the best apple crisp for years, I knew that this was truly sensational It’s also one of my most requested recipes and for some reason, men can’t seem to get enough of it. Have I mentioned that baking for men is totally romantic? You must try it out.

layered apples in a baking pan

This recipe always makes me fall in love with the simplicity of apple crisp all over again. I love when that happens.

Brown butter, vanilla bean, bourbon, and an incredible oat crisp in this recipe will knock your socks off. There’s also a bit of almonds in the topping, but you can use pecans or omit completely – it’s up to you.

The Best Apple Crisp You'll Ever Have in a bowl

Oh yes I did put bourbon in this crisp, because baking with bourbon is just freaking awesome. Go ahead, try the recipe and you’ll taste the difference. PROMISE.

I truly can’t seem to put into words how fantastic this apple crisp is though. Everyone always asks me for this recipe, and I’m sure they’ll ask you, too! It’s best served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

the best apple crisp in a bowl with ice cream

The Best Apple Crisp You'll Ever Have

4.75 from 4 votes
Course Apple Crisp, Dessert
Keyword the best apple crisp
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 12
The BEST apple crisp you'll ever have, with brown butter, vanilla bean and a splash of bourbon! Perfect for holidays and enjoying in the fall.

Ingredients

  • For the topping:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped almonds
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • For the filling:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. bourbon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8x8 baking pan.
  2. To make the topping: Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and almonds in a large bowl until well-combined. Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. (Alternatively, you can cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or place all of the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just blended. My favorite method is to use my hands, as I believe you get the best crumbly topping that way.)
  3. Once finished, place topping in the fridge and begin making the apple filling.
  4. To make the filling: Place butter and seeds from the vanilla bean in a medium saucepan, and turn heat on medium. After a couple of minutes the butter will begin to crackle and foam—make sure you whisk consistently during this process! Another minute or two, and you will notice the butter turning a slight brown (caramel) color on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent it from burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  5. While the butter is cooling, place apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and bourbon in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the brown butter to this apple mixture and toss again to combine.
  6. Take a heaping ½ cup of the topping mixture and toss with the apple mixture. Place the apple mixture in prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with topping. It may seem like a lot of topping, but the apples will cook down and the topping will provide an excellent crunchy exterior.
  7. Bake the crisp on a baking sheet (just in case the filling bubbles over!) for 55-60 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

Recipe Notes

Feel free to use different nuts instead of almonds—or leave out nuts completely. If you don’t have bourbon on hand, you can use whiskey, or replace with ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

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