These are the best healthy apple bars! You will love the apple crumble topping and you would never guess that these dessert bars are gluten free and dairy free. Made with almond flour, pecans and honey this is the perfect fall dessert that would also be great to serve at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Why you will love this recipe:
- These homemade apple crumble bars taste amazing!
- This dessert is gluten free, dairy free and paleo, but you'd never know it.
- They have the most delicious crumble topping.
- You can easily make these bars vegan.
- These apple dessert bars are healthy enough to eat for breakfast, but delicious enough for dessert.
- They make great leftovers and store well in the fridge.
- This dessert is refined sugar free.
- These bars are made without oatmeal and instead are made with almond flour.
- If you love apple desserts you will also love these healthy apple pie bars!
Taste and texture:
These apple bars have a delicious shortbread like crust, with an incredible apple cinnamon sugar crumble topping. They are sweet, but not too sweet and the caramelized apples melt in your mouth with every bite.
Key ingredients and substitutions:
- Apples - you can use any type of sweet, red apple for this healthy apple recipe. I personally love using gala, Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples.
- Almond flour - almond flour is such a great gluten free and grain free flour. It's high in protein, full of healthy fats and easy to use. If you can't use almond flour I would use cashew flour instead.
- Pecans - pecans are used to give the crust for these apple bars a unique flavour, and delicious texture. I recommend using raw pecans rather than roasted pecans.
- Honey or maple syrup - either of these natural sweeteners can be used to make these apple bars. If you are vegan, be sure to choose maple syrup.
- Cinnamon - cinnamon and apples are a match made in heaven and ground cinnamon helps turn these into the most delicious apple cinnamon bars.
How to make this recipe:
First, peel the apples and cut them into pieces approximately 1.5cm x 1.5cm in size.
Now fill a sauce pan or pot with a thin layer (~1cm) of water and place on medium heat on the stove.
Transfer the apple pieces to the pan or pot and cook for ~20 mins or until the apples are soft.
Next, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
While your apples are cooking start the crust by adding the crust ingredients to your standing mixer (except for the additional 1/2 cup almond flour and orange zest) and blend on low until smooth.
Take approximately 2/3 of your crust mixture and press into the bottom of an 8" x 8" pan so that you have a layer about 1 cm thick.
Place the pan in oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until crust edge turns golden brown.
Once the apples are soft enough, remove them from the pot, using a slotted spoon (try and limit the amount of liquid that you get) and place them in a large bowl. Add the ground cinnamon, vanilla, honey, and lemon juice to the apples and blend with a pastry blender so that apples become even more soft and tender.
Once the bottom crust is done baking, remove the pan from the oven and cover with your apple layer.
Add the 1/2 cup almond flour and orange zest to the remaining crust ingredients and blend well with a spoon or pastry blender. You should get a more crumbly texture at this point (add a bit more almond flour if you need to). Then top the apple layer with your remaining crust ingredients.
Then place the pan in oven to bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top layer becomes a golden brown. When they are done baking, let the bars cool, then cut them into pieces and enjoy!
Tips and variations:
- To make these into vegan apple bars: use coconut oil and maple syrup when making these bars.
- Let these apple bars cool completely before cutting them.
- You can use any type of sweet red apple that you like.
- If you can't have almond flour I recommend using cashew flour instead.
- To make these into protein apple bars: add a couple scoops of collagen peptides to the apple layer before you mix it up.
- Instead of using almond flour for the topping you could use finely shredded coconut or oatmeal instead.
How to store:
Store any leftover bars in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Frequently asked questions:
I do not recommend freezing these bars. The crumble topping doesn't hold up well in the freezer.
Yes! To make these into apple oatmeal bars, replace the almond flour in the crumble topping with rolled oats.
If you don't have a standing mixer, simply mix the ingredients by hand. It will just take a little longer that's all.
Other recipes you will love:
- Apple pie overnight oats
- Healthy apple crumble
- Healthy baked apple slices with caramel
- Turnip and apple casserole
- Sugar free applesauce
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Healthy Apple Bars
- 5 cups apples, chopped and peeled (these will shrink when you cook them)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups ground raw pecans (or pecan flour)
- 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup almond flour or finely shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon zest from one orange
- Peel the apples and cut them into pieces approximately 1.5cm x 1.5cm in size.
- Fill a sauce pan with a thin layer (~1cm) of water and place on medium heat on the stove.
- Transfer the apple pieces to the pan and cook for ~20 mins or until the apples are soft.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- While your apples are cooking start the crust by adding the crust ingredients to your standing mixer (except for the additional 1/2 cup almond flour and orange zest) and blend on low until smooth.
- Take approximately 2/3 of your crust mixture and press into the bottom of an 8x8 pan so that you have a layer about 1cm thick.
- Place the pan in oven and bake for 10 minutes or until crust edge turns golden brown.
- Once the apples are soft enough remove them from the pot, using a slotted spoon (try and limit the amount of liquid that you get) and place them in a large bowl.
- Add the ground cinnamon, vanilla, honey, and lemon juice to the apples and blend with a pastry blender so that apples become even more soft and tender.
- Once the bottom crust is done, remove from oven and cover with your apple layer.
- Add the 1/2 cup almond flour and orange zest to the remaining crust ingredients and blend well with a spoon or pastry blender. You should get a more crumbly texture at this point (add a bit more almond flour if you need to).
- Top the apples with your remaining crust ingredients.
- Place in oven for another 15-20 minutes or until the top layer becomes a golden brown.
- Let the bars cool, then cut them into pieces and enjoy!
- I recommend storing these bars in the fridge so the apple layer doesn't get too runny.
- To make these bars vegan, use coconut oil and maple syrup.
- You can use any type of sweet red apple that you like to make this recipe.
Hi there,I would like to give this recipe a try. However, my husband can't have pecans. Do you think it would be ok to just use all almond flour?Thanks
Oh yes I am sure that would work just fine! I have made crusts with just almond flour many times and they turn out great!Really any nut flour should work... I just haven't experimented with too many yetThanks for posting! Let me know how it turns out!
Lauren at Empowered Sustenance
I just found your creative plantain bun recipe on Pinterest… brilliant recipe! I'm having fun exploring your other creative recipes, and am beyond flattered by your kind words about my blog in this post! If you ever want to guest post a recipe on Empowered Sustenance, give me a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org
I just stumbled upon your website and I am so thankful I found it!! Your story is very similar to mine! I am very grateful for the scd diet as it is helping tremendously with my IBS/candida issues. I just made this recipe and it is OH SO GOOD!!!! Thank you for your creativity with food as I am not one to try things out myself!! I did add the shredded coconut and it was just perfect! I will be sure to try more of your recipes!
Lauren somehow I missed your comment when you posted a few months ago! Thanks so much for the comments 🙂
Thanks for your comment TamahB! Diet can make such a huge difference for people I am glad the SCD is working for you 🙂
I've just eaten and this would really hit the spot about now. Looks amazing! Definitely gonna have to try it out! Thanks :).
Would love to know if you try it! thanks for stopping by 🙂