Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

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Make a batch of apple pie bars for the perfect shareable fall dessert! Plus, these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are vegan and gluten-free!

a dish of apple pie bars with a few servings that have been removed

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Okay I’ve got a hot take to share with you guys that I just have to get off my chest. I think everyone gets so caught up in pumpkin spice season, that we all forget that it’s also apple season.

Don’t get me wrong. I love using pumpkin in recipes for any meal of the day. From my Vegan Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats to Pumpkin Sage Oat Risotto and Vegan Oatmeal Pumpkin Waffles, I certainly have no shortage of vegan pumpkin recipes on the blog. But as soon as September hits, everyone is so knee-deep in pumpkin spice everything that we forget that it’s the best time of year to make all your favorite apple recipes!

Well my friends, I’m here to celebrate apple season with these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars! Not only are these apple pie bars vegan and gluten-free, but we’re also making our own homemade salted date caramel sauce! Delicious and easier to make than traditional homemade caramel!

I’m a very determined, self-motivated person. If I have a goal or if you give me something to get done, you bet your a$$ I’m going to put my 100% into accomplishing it. As soon as I had it in my head that I wanted to make apple pie bars, I couldn’t shake the idea. It took me three attempts and many failed crusts in the trash to get these right, but these salted caramel apple pie bars turned out to be one of my new favorite desserts – decadent, fresh, full of classic apple pie flavor, and made with wholesome ingredients.

a baking dish of apple pie bars

Ingredients for Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

I know the ingredient list looks scary long, but I separated them into each step (crust, filling, topping, and caramel sauce). You’ll use a lot of the ingredients in more than one step, so I promise it’s less ingredients than it looks like! Keeping’ it simple here.

Here’s everything you’ll need.

  • Oats. This recipe calls for both old-fashioned rolled oats and oat flour. You can make your own oat flour by throwing some oats into a blender and grinding it into flour!
  • Almond flour. We’re using almond flour with our oat flour to make a delicious gluten-free pie crust.
  • Flax meal. Flax meal is a great egg replacement and will help bind the crust together.
  • Coconut oil. Since these are vegan apple pie bars, we’re using coconut oil in the crust. You could also use vegan butter.
  • Maple syrup. Apples and maple syrup are made for each other! Maple syrup is going into multiple components of these apple pie bars.
  • Coconut sugar. The coconut sugar is going into our apple pie filling. I love the toasty flavor of coconut sugar, but you could also use brown sugar or granulated sugar.
  • Apples. You can use any kind you’d like! Honeycrisp are my favorite in this apple pie bar recipe.
  • Apple sauce. I recommend unsweetened applesauce since we’re already getting plenty of sweetness from the maple syrup, coconut sugar and dates.
  • Vanilla extract. Just a touch really helps add some warmth and flavor.
  • Pecans. I love the crunch that pecans add to the topping, but if you don’t like them or are allergic, you can leave them out.
  • Dates. We’re making a homemade salted date caramel sauce to drizzle on top that is TO DIE FOR. Just you wait.
  • Non-dairy milk. Any kind will work!
  • Spices. You’ll need salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

a bowl of vegan pie dough

a vegan pie dough that has been pressed into a pie dish

How to Make Gluten-Free Pie Crust

The base to these apple pie bars of course starts with a good crust. We’re making a gluten-free pie crust with almond and oat flours. It’s nutty, buttery and super simple to make. Since it’s gluten-free, it’s actually pretty difficult to overwork the dough, so no risk of dense cardboard crusts over here!

Here’s how to make gluten-free pie crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prep an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, including the oat flour, almond meal and flax meal.
  3. Stir in the coconut oil, maple syrup and salt until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the water and mix well until a dough forms.
  5. Press the crust evenly into your baking dish, slightly bringing the crust up on the sides. Make sure the crust is the same thickness throughout.
  6. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and place in the fridge and cool for 10 minutes.

While your pie crust is baking, you can begin working on the filling!

a bowl of thinly sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon

How to Make the Apple Pie Filling

For the filling for your apple pie bars, you can use the same bowl you just made your crust in! Slice up your apples and add them to the bowl with your coconut sugar, oat flour, applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir to coat the apples and let them sit to macerate for a few minutes.

Once you’ve given your crust its first bake and have let it cool, you’ll spread the apple pie filling on top of your crust. Put the pan of apple pie bars back in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until your topping is brown and starting to get toasty.

Now time to make the toppings!

a bowl of homemade vegan salted date caramel

How to Make Date Caramel Sauce

There are a lot of reasons why these salted caramel apple pie bars are so delicious, but that SAUCE. I think that’s the best part. I mean who doesn’t love salted caramel? And BONUS – this salted caramel is actually a date caramel sauce! So it’s a little healthier (and easier to make!) than a traditional salted caramel.

To make it, you’ll want to start by soaking your dates in hot water until they start to soften. Then, add your soaked dates, non-dairy milk and salt to a blender and blend it all up until everything is suuuuuper smooth. It’s that simple! No burning sugar in your sauce pan and cleaning up a crystalized mess. Just a delicious, salty, sweet date caramel sauce in a matter of minutes.

a gluten free crumble topping over sliced apples and pie dough in a baking dish

How to Make Gluten-Free Crumble Topping

I don’t know that I could ever decide between apple crumble and apple pie, so why not meet in the middle? Sure, these are apple pie bars, but we’re finishing them off with a gluten-free apple crumble topping because why the heck not. It’s crunchy, salty, sweet and so delicious.

To make the apple crumble topping, mix together old-fashioned rolled oats, oat flour, pecans, cinnamon and salt. Then, add in a bit of melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Fold everything together until the crumble is well-coated in the coconut oil and maple syrup.

Time to assemble the apple pie bars!

a baking dish with sliced apples on top of a vegan pie dough

How to Make Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

This isn’t technically a “dump into one bowl, mix, and bake” sort of recipe, but it’s super easy once you break it down. There’s really only three steps when you’re making these vegan apple pie bars:

  1. Vegan Pie Crust: Make the crust. Press it into the pan. Bake. Cool.
  2. Apple pie filling: Slice the apples. Toss with other ingredients. Pack them onto the crust.
  3. Topping: Mix ingredients. Sprinkle over the apples.

Now this is the HARDEST PART, but it’s critical. You have to let the bars cool in the pan for at least an hour before cutting into them. If you slice into them straight out of the oven, they’ll be a gooey mess.

Once they’re (finally) cool, pull them out of the fridge and drizzle your homemade date caramel sauce on top! NOW you can dig in 🙂

a dish of apple pie bars topped with salted caramel

More Vegan Apple Recipes

Pumpkin season and apple season BOTH deserve their time to shine, so celebrate apple season with more delicious apple-y treats! If you’re looking for more fall goodness, check out these other vegan apple recipes.

  • Vegan French Toast with Apple Pie Topping
  • Apple Arugula Salad with Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas
  • Maple Curry Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Apples
  • Wholesome Vegan Apple Cake by From My Bowl
  • Vegan Apple Bread by Eating Bird Food

 

Print

How to make:

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Make a batch of apple pie bars for the perfect shareable fall dessert! Plus, these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are vegan and gluten-free!

Prep Time:
1 hour 30 mins
Cook Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
2 hours 25 mins
Yield:
12-16 bars
Rating: 5 from 2 reviews
Print the recipe

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (ground-up rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water

Filling:

  • 2 apples, sliced thinly (I used Honeycrisp)*
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon applesauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped**
  • 2 tablespoons oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked in hot water
  • 1/3 cup almond milk or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan with foil; lightly grease with non-stick spray.
  2. Make the crust: In a large bowl, add oat flour, almond meal and flax meal. Stir to combine. Add coconut oil, maple syrup and salt; stir until ingredients are fully incorporated. Add water; mix well.
  3. Press the crust evenly into the pan, slightly bringing the crust up on the sides. Make sure the crust is the same thickness throughout. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven; place in the fridge and cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Make the filling: In the same large bowl, place the sliced apples, coconut sugar, oat flour, applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir until the ingredients evenly coat the apples. Evenly layer the apples on the baked crust; slightly press down to pack the apples in.
  5. Make the topping: In the large bowl, add oats, pecans, oat flour, cinnamon and salt; stir to combine. Add melted oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir well until ingredients are fully incorporated. Sprinkle topping evenly on top of the layered apples.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned and crispy. Remove from the oven; let the bars sit in the pan for 30 minutes. Place in the fridge and let cool for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Make the salted caramel sauce: In a blender, add soaked dates, milk and salt. Blend until smooth. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the bars. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

*I sliced the apples vertically about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick and cut those slices in half. Cut out the core and seeds.
**You can use any nut you want, like walnuts or almonds. You can also use seeds if you’re nut-free.

25215.2 g253 mg12.2 g5.4 g31.2 g4 g4.5 g0 mg

The post Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars appeared first on Emilie Eats.



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