These Vegan Apple Pie Bars combine the best of two worlds- cookie bars & apple pie! A thick shortbread pie-like dough is topped with cinnamon sugar apples and a vegan streusel for a melt-in-your-mouth cookie bar!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Superfresh Growers. The opinions and text are all my own. Thank you so much for your support!
My favorite apples are getting a sweeter spotlight this week in these dairy-free & eggless apple cookie bars! You may remember I previously used Superfresh Growers Autumn Glory apples in a cocktail (my Apple Thyme Bourbon Smash) and in a savory dish too (the best Apple Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash).
This time around, we are featuring these sweet & caramel flavored apples in a dessert! If you've never tried Autumn Glory Apples before, they are a very crisp & sweet apple grown in the Yakima, WA region. They are in season from November-June which makes them the perfect Apple for holiday baking. I found these apples at my local Safeway- check out their store locator to find one near you!
Since these apples naturally have hints of cinnamon & caramel in every bite, they bake up incredibly well and add an extra layer of flavor to every bite!
How to make apple pie bars
These apple pie crumb bars are made in three easy steps:
Make & par-bake the vegan pie crust
This crust tastes somewhere between a shortbread cookie and a more traditional pie crust. I did add a little baking powder to help fluff it up a bit, but overall it's pretty dense, buttery, and SO delicious!
First, cream together the vegan butter, sugar, and vanilla. Then, add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix together into a thick dough.
Take the dough and press it into an 8*8 inch baking pan. I like to do this with my hands and a spoon, but a spatula also works. Then, add it to the oven and bake for 15 minutes to par-bake (partially bake) the crust.
Pro Tip: I highly recommend lining your pan with parchment paper for easier removal!
Make the apple pie filling & streusel
While the crust is baking, make the other two layers of the vegan apple bars.
The first is the apple pie filling which combines peeled and thinly sliced Autumn Glory apples with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using cornstarch in this layer helps the apples turn into a nice smooth filling while the lemon juice adds a nice tart edge to offset the sweetness of the dish.
Then, make the vegan streusel topping! Add the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour to a small bowl. Next "cut" the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers or a fork. Cutting butter essentially means adding cold butter to dry ingredients so that it stays in clumps.
Layer everything together & bake
Remove the partially cooked crust from the oven, top with the apple pie filling, and then finish by layering on the streusel topping. Then, add to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the streusel layer is browned and cooked through.
The apple pie bars will be pretty soft right out of the oven, so it's essential to let them cool COMPLETELY before slicing. In fact, I highly recommend cooling them and then adding the pan to the fridge for about 1 hour before slicing for the best results. Cold bars are easier to slice and I have found refrigerating these bars up to 24 hours before slicing doesn't affect the texture or flavor at all! This actually makes them the perfect dessert to make the day before you are serving them.
Optional salted caramel
Also, while it is totally optional, I ended up topping these vegan pie bars with a drizzle of my favorite vegan salted caramel once sliced. YUM!
FAQ & Substitutions:
Can I bake in a larger pan?
In order to bake this recipe in a larger pan (like a 9*13 inch pan), you will need to double the recipe. The specific quantities in this recipe only work in an 8*8 inch pan. I haven't personally tested it, but I believe the bake time would also need to be increased.
Can I make these bars gluten-free?
Yes! Using a gluten-free 1:1 baking flour tends to work really well for vegan bar bar recipes. In fact, you could even sub the crust for the oat crust I used in my Vegan & GF Blueberry Bars. Just keep in mind, subbing in almond flour, coconut flour, or other flour alternatives 1:1 does not work in this recipe- it must be a GF flour mix made for baking.
What about refined sugar-free?
Coconut sugar or maple sugar would work great in this recipe. It is crucial to use granulated sugar, so just make sure you keep that in mind when substituting.
Other substitution ideas:
- Cornstarch- can be subbed 1:1 for arrowroot powder.
- Lemon juice- can be subbed 1:1 for any acidic fruit juice such as lime or freshly squeezed orange juice. It will affect the flavor slightly, but works!
- Vegan butter- can be subbed for coconut oil, but keep in mind it will affect the flavor. If using coconut oil, it must be completely solid for the best results.
How do I store leftovers?
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days in the freezer up to 1 month. I highly recommend slicing the bars and storing between sheets of parchment paper in a closed container for the best results. Since these bars are pretty dense and moist, I found they actually stored really well in the fridge compared to normal cookies which I never recommend refrigerating.
I truly hope you enjoy these delicious Vegan Apple Pie Bars made with Superfresh Growers Autumn Glory Apples! They really are the PERFECT apple for baking and this recipe tastes just like an eggless & dairy-free apple pie with much less work. Enjoy!
Looking for more fruit-filled desserts? Check out these SGTO favorites:
Vegan Shortbread Crust
- ½ cup (113 grams) vegan butter (room temperature)
- 2 Tbsp (28 grams) cane sugar
- 2 Tbsp (25 grams) brown sugar
- 1 tsp (5 grams) vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 2 Autumn Glory Apples (about 220 grams peeled and thinly sliced)
- 2 Tbsp (28 grams) sugar
- 1 Tbsp (8 grams) cornstarch
- ½ Tbsp (3 grams) lemon juice
- ½ tsp (3 grams) cinnamon
- ½ tsp (1 gram) nutmeg
- ½ cup (50 grams) rolled oats
- ¼ cup (50 grams) brown sugar
- ¼ cup (31 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp (3 grams) cinnamon
- ¼ cup (57 grams) vegan butter (cubed and cold)
Make the Shortbread Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8*8 inch pan with parchment paper. Then, add the vegan butter, cane sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla to a mixing bowl. Whip together with an electric mixer until fluffy and creamed, about 2-3 minutes.
- Then, add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixing bowl and mix everything together into a thick dough. Press the dough into the parchment-lined pan until it is spread out evenly. Then, add to the oven to par-bake for 15 minutes.
Make the Apple Pie Filling & Streusel
- While the crust is baking, make the apple pie filling and streusel. Peel two apples and thinly slice them into ¼ inch slices. Then, add to a bowl and mix with the rest of the apple pie filling ingredients including the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix together until the apples are evenly coated and set aside.
- Next, make the streusel. Add the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon to a bowl. Then, add in the butter and use your fingers or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until a crumbly streusel forms. Set aside until the crust has finished baking
Layer & Bake
- Remove the partially baked crust from the oven and top with the apple pie filling. Then, sprinkle the streusel on top.
- Add the apple pie bars to the oven and bake for another 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing. For the best results, put the cooled bars in the fridge 1-2 hours before slicing.
- Slice into 9 even slices and enjoy! Before serving, drizzle with vegan salted caramel if desired.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month between sheets of parchment paper in a closed container.
- This recipe was adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239 Total Fat: 15.3gSaturated Fat: 4.8gCarbohydrates: 25.3gFiber: 1.8gSugar: 19.4gProtein: .8g