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Get the great taste of apple pie, without doing all the hard work

These new apple snacks will make you say goodbye to apple pie.

The coziest way to warm up the house is to bake up a delicious homemade treat.

Of course, the top-of-the-list favorite for Americans is anything with apples, whether they are tucked into pies, bars or crisps.

And in the fall and winter, apples are at their best — just off the tree and full of fresh goodness and flavor.

When baking, apple aromas are nothing short of irresistible, a promise of good things to come — soon. In our memories, these old-fashioned smells say "stick around the kitchen for the very first bite."

An apple pie is no pie without a kiss of cinnamon and a nibble of crust. However, it can be fairly labor intensive.

Fortunately, when you're short on time, tender apple bars are easier-than-pie, yet have that great baked apple and cinnamon taste.

The following recipe for Cinnamon Apple Bars is full of plump, fresh apples and is a real keeper. And because it uses a gourmet baking mix, it's quick, too. For the best results, use a true baking apple because they keep their shape and fresh, homey flavor through the baking. Pecans or walnuts are also a must, since they have the richest flavor.

Cinnamon Apple Bars

1 package (21 oz.)

cinnamon crumb cake mix

cup (1 stick) butter, softened

cup all-purpose flour

4 apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Place full pouch of cake mix, butter and flour in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low speed until dough forms. Press dough evenly into bottom of lightly greased 13-inch-by-9-inch-by-2-inch pan.

Arrange apple slices over dough. In small bowl, mix together full pouch cinnamon topping mix and nuts. Sprinkle over apples. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired. Makes 24 servings.

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