These apple pie bars are made with natural ingredients making them the perfect fall treat!
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE:
- These bars are fifty times simpler than making a pie. The shortbread crust is made in one bowl by simply mixing a few ingredients together.
- The topping is a delicious salted caramel sauce made from dates.
- The bars can be taken on-the-go as a quick little snack or to a fall get together with some friends.
This dessert is way healthier than your average apple pie. We skip the butter, refined sugar and all purpose flour and replace it with ingredients like coconut oil, almond flour, and coconut sugar!
For the crust:
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
For the filling:
- 2 large apples - peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the top:
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup solid coconut oil
For the Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce:
- 15 pitted dates
- 1/2 cup water+more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8X8 inch pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Start by making the crust. Stir together the melted coconut oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the flour and stir until combined. Press the mixture into the pan evenly and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling and topping.
- For the filling, combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside.
- For the topping, stir together the oats, sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Add the solid coconut oil, in chunks, and combine with your hands. You can also use a pastry cutter or two knives to do this. I just use my hands. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs when you are finished.
- Remove the crust from the oven, and turn it up to 350 degrees. Layer the apples evenly on the warm crust. Press them down so they all fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with the streusel topping. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.
- While they are baking, prepare the vegan salted caramel sauce. Put the dates*, water, vanilla, and salt in your blender. Start on low for about 10 seconds, then turn it up to high and blend until yKou have a smooth mixture. Add additional water as needed to achieve your desired consistency. Taste and add more salt if you prefer. Set the sauce aside.
- When the bars are finished baking, pull them out of the oven and allow them to cool, on a baking rack, at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Then place them in the freezer for 30 minutes. This gives the bars a chance to firm up before cutting. They won’t stay together as well without this step. You can also refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Cut the bars into 9-16 bars and top with the salted caramel sauce. Enjoy!
- Even though it’s tempting to dig in right away, this recipe needs an hour to cool and set before cutting the bars, otherwise, they will fall apart easily.
- Use gluten-free oats to make this recipe entirely gluten-free.