These Apple Bars have a delicious almond butter cookie crumb crust with a sweet apple filling, It’s an easy to make healthy dessert everyone will love it. Enjoy the ultimate fall treat that also happens to be vegan, gluten free, paleo, and refined sugar free. I have included a nut free option.
As I walk around my neighborhood I am in awe of the abundance of colorful leaves on the trees. It gives me the feeling of the ever present loving energy in us and around us, loving us and supporting our well being.
The incredible variety of apples available in the farmers market also make me feel abundant. We live on an abundant planet.
I created this Cookie Crumb Apple Bar recipe with a feeling of joy and abundance. I hope the sweet syrupy, apple pie filling and cookie crumb crust gives you the feeling of happiness too!
These healthy apple bars are so incredibly delicious your family may eat them all right away. But don’t worry, making them the second time is even easier. You’ll love making another batch for your holiday guests The best part is you don’t need a mixer, blender or food processor. Everything is made in a bowl mixed with a fork. Yay, I love that!
Tips for Making the Apple Filling
The first step is to make the filling. You’ll cook the apples before baking them into the apple squares.
I recommend using a variety of apples for different tastes and textures. But, if you’re buying one type of apple choose cortland or honey crisp. Look for very firm apples without any soft spots.
Peel the apples, cut into quarters, remove the core, thinly slice. You don’t need to make the slices perfect, just not too thick.
To cook the apples add a tablespoon of water along with the maple syrup, lemon, cinnamon and vanilla. Let them cook covered for 5 minutes on medium-low so they begin to soften and get juicy. If they’re still quite firm after 5 minutes, raise the heat and cook another few minutes.
At this point you’ll mix the tapioca with the remaining tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of water and stir that into the apples. Cook for another 5 minutes until the apples are soft but you can still see the slices.
Tips for Making The Cookie Crumb Crust
The cookie crust and topping is made with almond butter like my Soft and Chewy Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies. It’s easy to make.
Weighing the almond butter is also much easier than measuring.
When lining your 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper, spread a strip of coconut oil along the sides and on the bottom to hold the parchment in place. You’re not oiling the pan, just using a strip of oil like glue.
Once the crust is made you’ll take out 1/4 of it for the crumb topping. Weigh out 125 grams or do it by eye.
To press the crust into the prepared pan, spread it out with your hands then use a piece of parchment and bottom of a metal measuring cup to press it evenly into the pan.
Bake it for 15 minutes until set and lightly brown around the edges. Top with the apples and use your hands to crumble the remaining dough evenly over the top. If there are a few spaces where the apples show through that’s fine.
Bake for 25 minutes until the topping is golden brown. It’s best to let it sit for 30 minutes to cool before cutting.
Once it’s cool, grab the overhanging parchment paper to remove it from the pan and cut into squares.
Pears can be used instead of apples. It would be delicious.
If you want to use a different nut butter, choose one mild in flavor and nice and smooth for the best result. Cashew butter would work well.
Arrowroot can be substituted for tapioca for similar results.
Honey or coconut sugar can be used instead of maple syrup but will have a slightly different flavor.
NUT FREE VERSION: Use sunflower butter instead of almond butter. Use tiger nut flour instead of almond flour. The apple bars will be a little more crumbly with a slightly different taste from the sunflower butter but still delicious. I love them!
These apple bars are going to become a favorite in your home. Even people who don’t usually like ‘healthy desserts’ love them.
They are the ultimate fall treat that also happens to be vegan, gluten free, paleo, and refined sugar free. Enjoy them!
Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I appreciate your feedback so much. Let me know what desserts you’re making this fall. ♥
If you like this recipe you may also enjoy these other healthy fall fruit desserts:
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These Apple Bars have a delicious almond butter cookie crumb crust with a sweet apple filling. An easy to make, healthy dessert everyone will love.
- 4 cups apples peeled and cut into thin slices
- 2–3 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet your apples are)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water, divided
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour + 1 teaspoon
Cookie Crumb Crust
- 3 tablespoons organic coconut oil refined, melted (42 grams)
- 1 cup blanched almond flour (112 grams)
- 1/4 cup coconut flour (28 grams)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (30 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 3/4 cup smooth almond butter (120 grams)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat a medium saucepan on medium low, add apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir and cover.
- Allow mixture to cook, covered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix the tapioca flour (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) with the remaining tablespoon of water until dissolved.
- Stir the tapioca mixture into the apples.
- Cook 5 minutes, covered, on medium low, until the apples are soft and the mixture becomes thick.
- Set aside to cool while you prepare the crust.
Cookie Crumb Crust
- Line an 8×8” baking pan with parchment paper along bottom and sides and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Gently melt coconut oil and set aside.
- Combine the almond flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir or sift to remove any lumps, set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a fork, whisk together the nut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until evenly combined.
- Stir the dry mixture into the wet until evenly combined and a sticky dough forms.
- Remove 1/4 of the dough (approximately 125 grams) and put into the refrigerator to chill.
- Press the remaining 3/4 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan to form the crust.
- Bake the bottom crust in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until lightly brown around the edges.
- Once done, spread the apple mixture evenly over the crust.
- Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and crumble it over the filling evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until topping is golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack in the pan for 30 minutes, before cutting into squares.
- Serve at room temp and store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
- It is possible to freeze the apple bars, wrap tightly in plastic. To serve: let come to room temperature or reheat in a 300 degree oven until warm, 5-10 minutes.
- Category: Dessert, Snack
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Naturally Sweetened
Keywords: apple bars, paleo apple bars, healthy dessert, healthy apple bars, easy apple bars
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