Healthy Apple Butter Bars are loaded with oatmeal, chopped apples, apple butter, and nuts for a delicious, wholesome breakfast or snack!
We’ve kind of been stuck in a breakfast rut lately, so last week I decided to concoct some new breakfast bars in hopes of bringing EXCITEMENT and ENTHUSIASM to our 6 a.m. weekday dining experience. Or, you know, at least distract three kids from whining and moaning and laying their heads on the table.
As I devised my recipe, I knew I wanted to include oatmeal, walnuts, apples, and a shiny new jar of apple butter that I hadn’t yet cracked into. And since my apple breakfast bars were off to such a wholesome start, I decided to keep the vibe going by also incorporating whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and natural, unrefined coconut palm sugar. Thus were born Healthy Apple Butter Bars!
After assembling my crumbly oat mixture, I pressed most of it into the bottom of a square baking pan. Then I chopped a giant honeycrisp apple, stirred in some apple butter, and spread the resulting apple goodness over the crust. Finally, I crumbled the reserved oat mixture all over the top.
The hardest part of making these Healthy Apple Butter Bars was waiting for them to bake, and the glorious smell emanating from the oven didn’t exactly help matters. But wait I did…and once the apple butter was bubbly and the oat mixture was golden, I knew that my patience had been rewarded. I let the bars rest just long enough that they wouldn’t completely crumble once I cut into them and then it was finally time for a bite!
And the verdict? Delicious. I have to admit that I may have felt slightly giddy that that these breakfast bars were loaded with so much good stuff while pretty much tasting like apple crisp. They’re obviously fabulous for breakfast, but they’d also make a wholesome snack or a healthy dessert. And nobody will ever guess that they’re not loaded with butter and sugar.
So whip up some Healthy Apple Butter Bars to make early mornings just a little less painful. Keep them on hand to curb those mid-afternoon munchies. Or heck, feed them to your trick-or-treaters before they head out tomorrow night! After all, ghosts and goblins and Larry Culpepper the Dr. Pepper Man (AKA, my ever creative 8-year-old) might not be able to scarf down quite as many candy bars if they’re already got a few of these wholesome breakfast bars in their bellies. 😉
Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment
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- I love using whole wheat pastry flour in baked goods because it is 100% whole wheat but with a flavor and texture akin to all-purpose white flour. I have no problem finding it at my regular grocery store these days. However, if you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour or only have regular whole wheat flour on hand, you can substitute half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour for the whole wheat pastry flour.
- That being said, you can make this recipe less breakfast-like/more dessert-like by using all-purpose flour in place of any whole wheat flour. You may use regular brown sugar instead of coconut palm sugar. And if you’d like to use melted butter in place of the melted coconut oil, that works, too.
- I used a large Honeycrisp apple for my bars that I chopped very finely. During baking, however, the apple cooked down quite a bit. So if you’d like a thicker layer of apple in your bars, feel free to use two diced apples instead of one (and double the apple butter as well).
- You can bake these bars in square cake pan or a regular square Pyrex.
- You may also double the recipe and bake the bars in a 9X13″ pan.
Healthy Apple Butter Bars
Healthy Apple Butter Bars
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup quick oats
- 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar, or regular brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted & slightly cooled
- 1 large apple
- 3/4 cup apple butter
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 9-inch square baking pan or dish.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the coconut oil until well-combined. Set aside 2/3 cup of the mixture and press the rest into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- While the crust is cooling, core and finely chop the apple. Transfer the chopped apples to a bowl and stir in the apple butter. Spread the apples on top on top of the crust.
- Stir the chopped nuts into the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle over the top of the apple layer. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool the pan on a wire rack before cutting into 10 bars.
Adapted from Taste of Home