Healthy Apple Crisp Bars

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These Healthy Apple Crisp Bars are a little soft and a little crunchy. They have a buttery oatmeal topping and loads of chewy, sweet, apples. I’ve been looking for a new snack bar to try out. I love satisfying snacks and sometimes it’s hard to find them if you’re trying to avoid sugar and gluten. So I’m always on the hunt for good recipes to try out.

It’s apple pie but with like half the work! I might be a bigger fan of “pie bars” than actual pie some days, haha. I love how easy pie bars are to make and they tend to be a bit more forgiving than pie.

These delicious apple pie bars are one of my favorite flavors. They’re made with just a few simple whole food ingredients and have the perfect balance of sweet yet tart. Plus, the combination of cinnamon and cardamom really bring the bars to life.

Watch How to Make This Recipe

I know you’ll love these! They are entirely gluten free and can easily be made dairy free and vegan if needed. I love the combination of real butter and sweet brown sugar but as always, make this recipe work for you. These bars are a great option for everyone and a fun way to use up those apples from apple picking!

Apple Pie Bar Ingredients

Rolled Oats: gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats help to form the base of the bars. Oats are naturally gluten free but you can always buy certified gluten free oats if needed.

Almond Flour: to keep these bars gluten free, the topping and crust use almond flour instead of traditional all-purpose flour.

Dark Brown Sugar: brown sugar and apples is a match made in even.

Spices: a combination of cinnamon and cardamom gives these bars a delicious spiced unique flavor.

Butter: this is used in the both the topping and the crust for that rich buttery flavor. I include notes on substitutions below if you need them.

Apples: I like to use either pink lady or  Granny Smith apples or a combination of both

Maple Syrup: the apple filling in these bars is sweetened with a bit of pure maple syrup.

Lemon Juice: a little tart helps to balance out the rest of the sweetness in the bars.

Vanilla Extract: a must-have ingredient to help add some delicious vanilla flavor to the bars.

Arrowroot Starch: this helps to thicken the apple filling a bit to give the bars a more jam-like consistency.

apple slices in pot

Ingredient Substitutions

  • almond flour – if you have a nut allergy, feel free to use all-purpose flour or a gluten free all-purpose flour instead. Coconut flour is too drying and will not work as a 1-to-1 substitute flour the almond flour in this recipe.
  • brown sugar – you can easily substitute brown sugar for coconut palm sugar in this recipe. I would not recommend using a liquid sweetener in place of brown sugar in this recipe.
  • butter – to keep the bars dairy free, feel free to use coconut oil instead of butter if you like. It will add a bit of a coconut flavor to the bars. Just make sure that the coconut oil is solid and not melted before using. If you have a favorite vegan butter substitute you can feel free to use that instead of traditional butter if you prefer.
  • arrowroot starch – I love to use arrowroot starch as a grain free replacement for cornstarch in several recipes. If you don’t have any you can simply substitute corn starch in its place. Tapioca flour will also likely work.

Helpful Kitchen Tools

8×8 Baking Pan

Parchment Paper

Mixing Bowl

Saucepan

Measuring Cups and Spoons

How to Make

Step One: Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Next, add the oats, almond flour, brown sugar, and butter to a mixing bowl. Use your hands to work the butter into the flour, sugar, and oats until it is well combined and forms a dough like consistency.

Step Two: Press 2/3 of the crust mixture into a 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, and set aside while you prep the apple filling.

Step Three: In a medium saucepan combine the sliced apples, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and cardamom over medium-high heat. Cook the apples for 7-9 minutes until they start to become tender.

Step Four: Once the apples start to become tender, remove the saucepan from the heat. Whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch to make a slurry and then pour that mixture into the apples. Stir until the apple filling has begun to thicken.

Step Five: Pour the apple filling over the crust and then use a spatula to spread it out evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining oat crisp topping evenly over the filling.

Step Six: Bake the bars at 350 degrees for twenty-five to thirty minutes until the fruit filling is bubbly around the edges and the top is golden brown. While the bars are baking you can make the icing by whisking together the almond milk and powdered sugar until smooth.

Step Seven: Let the bars come to a complete cool. Slice them into sixteen squares and then drizzle the icing over the bars. Enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

  • Use parchment paper. I like to grease the pan with a little non-stick cooking spray before adding the parchment paper to help it stick to the bottom of the pan so it won’t slip around while you are pressing the crust into the pan.
  • Let the bars cool completely before slicing. For the best results, let the bars cool completely before slicing and trying to pick them up. The apple filling needs to fully set in order for you to eat them like an actual bar. Letting them cool in the fridge is a great option to help speed up the process.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the bars. Using a very sharp knife will help you make a clean cut and get through the thick bottom layer of the apple pie bar crust.

How to Store

I recommend storing the apple pie bars in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days to keep them fresh.

How to Serve

  • These are great by themselves with a drizzle of icing.
  • Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.
  • Served room temperature or cool, right out the fridge!

Healthy Apple Pie Bars

Indulge in something a little sweet with these Healthy Apple Pie Bars. Made with an almond butter crumble, ripe honeycrisp apples, and a delicious glaze, these bars are the perfect autumn-inspired treat!

Indulge in something sweet

It’s no secret – I am all about “bar” recipes. My recipe index is filled with every flavor you could possibly imagine, like key lime pie, cookie dough, pecan pie, lemon, and chocolate peanut butter, to name a few. Basically, if you can think of the flavor, I’ve probably created a bar recipe for that.

I just love that they’re so easy to make, and that they serve as great grab-and-go treats. They’re kind of the same concept as brownies, but with way more intense, unique flavors!

After scanning through all of the variations I’ve created in the past, I realized there was one flavor in particular that was missing: apple pie! How could I have overlooked such a staple flavor?

I decided to jump right in, and the rest is history. These healthy apple pie bars are made using healthier, whole ingredients and make the perfect addition to the line up. They’re chewy, sweet, and can be customized exactly to your liking!

Ingredients used in this easy apple pie recipe

Healthy apple pie bars consist of three sets of ingredients: the base and crumble, the apple layer, and the glaze topping! Each part uses healthy, whole ingredients to achieve the delicious flavors, but we’ll get more into that in a minute.

Base + Crumble Topping:

  • Almond butter (natural)
  • Coconut oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Vanilla
  • Almond flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

Apple Layer:

  • Apples (Peeled, cored, and diced; I use honey crisp)
  • Lemon juice
  • Coconut oil
  • Arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Powdered Sugar Glaze:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Almond milk

Tools need to make this recipe

To create this recipe, you’ll need a number of kitchen tools. Below is a complete list that you can use as a guide before you begin cooking – just gather and go!

  • Baking pan (I used an 8×8, but any size will work; just adjust your cooking time accordingly)
  • Nonstick spray or parchment paper
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Stirring utensil
  • Sauce pan
  • Whisk

For measuring, you will need the following sizes: 1/8 tsp, 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.

How to make healthy apple pie bars

Healthy apple pie bars are made in a series of steps that begin with making the almond butter base and crumble topping, followed by the apple pie “filling” and the glaze.

To begin making your healthy apple pie bars, preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8×8 baking pan with nonstick spray or parchment paper.

Then, in a small bowl, mix the almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined.

In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and then stir until fully mixed.

Press 2/3 of the almond butter dough into the bottom of the pan until evenly spread. Set aside the other 1/3 of the dough.

In a saucepan, heat the lemon juice and coconut oil over medium heat. Whisk in the arrowroot powder until there are no clumps.

Next, whisk in the maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the apples, and stir until they’re well coated.

Let the apples sauté for about 6-7 minutes, or until they’re slightly softened.

Pour the apples over the unbaked almond butter base. Crumble the remaining 1/3 of the dough and add to the top of the apple mixture.

Bake for 30-32 minutes, or until the top becomes golden.

Let cool for 30 minutes before placing in the fridge to cool for another hour. I recommend letting them sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours before cutting.

If using the optional glaze, mix the powdered sugar and almond milk, and then add it to the top of the bars.

A healthier recipe for apple pie bars

In this recipe you’ll find a number of healthier baking ingredients. All were chosen to keep this recipe as whole as possible and provide extra nutrients!

Natural almond butter
Almond butter is my preferred option in the nut butter world. I love the way it tastes and the high amounts of protein it provides! Additionally, I always opt for all natural nut butters, as the alternatives are filled with so many preservatives. When it comes to nut butter, natural is a must.

Coconut oil
My preferred baking oil is always coconut oil. It’s got a better nutritional content than vegetable and canola oil and works really well with essentially any recipe.

Maple syrup
When it comes to adding a touch of sweetness, I always like to use maple syrup! It tastes fantastic and is a great way to achieve a yummy flavor without dumping buckets of white sugar into your recipe.

Almond flour
Almond flour is a go-to in my world! It works well in any baked recipe and is a good, healthy alternative to all-purpose flour.

Arrowroot powder
This powder works similarly to cornstarch or flour and helps to thicken up the recipe. I like to use it in place of cornstarch because it contains extra fiber and calcium!

Almond milk
I tend to stay away from dairy milk, instead opting for nut milks! They contain more natural nutrients and aren’t pumped with all of the hormones that come in cow’s milk.

Apple pie bar substitution options

Missing an ingredient? Check this list before running to the store! Many of the items in this recipe can be substituted with simple alternatives.

  • Almond butter: Not feeling almond butter? That’s okay! Absolutely any nut butter will work in this recipe, as will nut-free SunButter.
  • Coconut oil: Any similar high-fat baking oil will work in place of coconut oil, such as vegetable or canola.
  • Maple syrup: You can use honey or molasses to sweeten your bars! These don’t convert at a 1:1 ratio, so add to taste.
  • Baking soda: Out of baking soda? That’s okay! You can use 1.5 tsp baking powder to replace it.
  • Arrowroot powder: If you don’t have arrowroot powder handy, you can use cornstarch instead.
  • Almond milk: Finally, any milk will work in place of almond milk. You can use another nut milk, or use dairy milk.

Optional add ons alert!

Want to spice up your bars a bit? Add chopped glazed nuts, like pecans or walnuts on top! You can also sprinkle on chocolate chips, or add a caramel drizzle! YUM.

How to store leftover healthy apple pie bars

Extra apple pie bar treats can be kept in the refrigerator. Keep them in an airtight container to maintain flavor and texture, and enjoy within 5 days.

Apple Pie Bars with Salted Peanut Butter Caramel

Healthy apple pie bars with a delicious oat crumble topping and a drizzle of homemade salted vegan peanut butter caramel. These gluten free apple pie bars are filled with warm, cozy spices and easily made vegan for the perfect fall dessert!

PREP TIME

20 MINS

COOK TIME

40 MINS

TOTAL TIME

1 HOUR

healthy apple pie bars on parchment paper

There’s not much to say about these apple pie bars other than the fact that they are FABULOUS and the perfect treat or breakfast snack (totally a thing) to make when you have extra apples laying around.

Plus, they’re drizzled with a 5 minute caramel sauce that’s going to BLOW YA MIND. Apple szn is just the best, isn’t it?

Ingredients in apple pie bars

These incredible healthy apple pie bars are perfectly sweet, gluten free and easily dairy free & vegan for a treat everyone will love. Here’s everything you need to make them:

  • Oat flour: make sure to use a gluten free oat flour to keep these apple pie bars gluten free, or feel free to sub all purpose flour. See below for simple instructions for making your own oat flour!
  • Rolled oats: again, be sure to use gluten free rolled oats to keep these gluten free. Do not use steel cut oats or quick oats as the texture will be much different.
  • Brown sugar: I love the molasses flavor that brown sugar give these bars but you can also sub coconut sugar if you’d like. Just note that you may not get the best ‘crumble’ with coconut sugar.
  • Spices: we’re using the coziest trio of spices: cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg.
  • Baking soda & salt: so that these bars bake up properly.
  • Butter: feel free to sub for a vegan buttery stick.
  • Vanilla: a little vanilla extract adds the perfect flavor.
  • Honeycrisp apples: I love using honeycrisp apples in these healthy apple pie bars because they’re deliciously sweet and juicy.
  • Pure maple syrup: we’re naturally sweetening these apple pie bars with maple syrup (and apples, of course!)
  • Cornstarch: a bit of cornstarch helps the apple pie filling thicken up a little. You can also use arrowroot starch if you’d like.

The BEST salted peanut butter caramel

The vegan salted peanut butter caramel is amazingly easy, customizable and so delicious drizzled over these bars, or on top of ice cream. Don’t skip it! You’ll need:

  • Peanut butter: use an all natural peanut butter for that incredible, vegan salted peanut butter caramel. To keep these nut free you could also use tahini.
  • Coconut oil: you’ll need a bit of coconut oil to create the best texture for the caramel.
  • Pure maple syrup: You’ll need a little bit of pure maple syrup to sweeten the caramel!
  • Vanilla extract: love the flavor this gives the caramel.
  • Sea salt: for that sweet and salty goodness.

How to make your own oat flour

You can easily make your own gluten free oat flour by simply placing gluten free oats into a blender and blending/pulsing until they’re smooth and resemble a fine flour. This is probably the cheapest option. 

How to make gluten free apple pie bars

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and generously spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the base + topping: In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together the oat flour, oats, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add in melted butter and vanilla extract stir until a nice crumble forms and dough begins to clump together. 
  3. Place about 1 2/3 cups of the mixture into the prepared pan and place the remaining mixture into the fridge (the remaining mixture will be used for the topping). Use your hands to evenly press the dough to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Next, make the apple pie filling: Melt butter in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the sliced apples to the pan and stir to coat the apples. Add in maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg over the apples and stir well to combine. Lower heat to medium low and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until apples begin to soften nicely. Next stir in vanilla and cornstarch, and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes so that the sauce thickens up. Remove from heat. Pour mixture over the crust and use a spoon to evenly spread.
  5. Take the remaining topping out of the fridge. By now there should be some nice crumbles that have clumped together. Sprinkle the topping over the apple filling
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the topping is nice and golden. Allow bars to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  7. Next make your peanut butter caramel.
  8. Drizzle caramel over bars, then use a sharp knife to cut into 16 squares.
drizzling peanut butter caramel onto healthy apple pie bars

How to store these apple pie bars

In the fridge: I recommend storing these bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

In the freezer: yes, these apple pie bars are freezer-friendly! Once they’re complete cooled, simply place them in an airtight container and pop them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy one, just let it thaw a bit in the fridge before eating.

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