Apple Baked Oatmeal Bars
Aside from a bit of necessary glucose for fueling my long runs, going without refined sugar has been pretty manageable for one month. I’m once again surprised how doable a sugar fast can be. And this is coming from me, the girl who eats cookies for breakfast.
It absolutely helps that I allow a small amount of raw honey or pure maple syrup occasionally throughout the month. Truth: the boys have gone from mugs of hot chocolate with ‘mallows to cups of herbal tea with a teaspoon of honey. I casually act like it’s no biggie when my teen boys reach for chamomile tea. I’m not about to mess with that.
It also helps that when the baking bug strikes hard, I can whip up delicious goodies like these Apple Oatmeal Bars — sweetened with pure maple syrup and applesauce. If it prevents me from running to Dairy Queen, it’s a total win.
These Apple Oatmeal Bars are gluten-free, dairy-free as well, making them perfect for those who are intolerant to either of those ingredients.
Apples and oats, here we go…
Ingredients for Chewy Apple Oatmeal Bars
- Gluten Free Old Fashioned Oats – Be sure you’re using the old fashioned rolled oats, rather than quick cooking oats. This helps with the chewy good texture.
- Ground Cinnamon – We’re not shy here, going with 2 tsp good quality cinnamon in the bars themselves, and a little sprinkle on top after baking.
- Baking Powder – Always be sure your baking powder is fresh and not even close to expiring. Baking powder gives these bars a higher lift and a soft texture.
- Unsweetened Applesauce – If you want to keep these apple oatmeal bars sugar free, be sure to get applesauce that’s labeled “no sugar added.” It can be easy to accidentally grab a jar of applesauce that is laden with added sugar. If you’re into making your own applesauce via slow cooker, that’s another great option.
- Pure Maple Syrup – Definitely use 100% pure maple syrup here; not pancake syrup or any other syrup. We only use 6TB in this recipe, as our goal was to keep these bars light and healthy. Feel free to amp up the maple syrup a bit if the batter tastes too light for you. Another great option is raw honey, in place of the maple.
- Coconut Oil – Measure the coconut oil as a liquid, melting it before measuring. Coconut oil lends a subtle aromatic flavor, while remaining mostly undetected in this recipe. It’s a fabulous alternative to butter, and allows these oatmeal bars to remain dairy-free.
- Egg – Eggs are classified as a protein and not a dairy product. So happy about that, as it allows those who are dairy intolerant to enjoy these bars. Just 1 large egg will help the binding of these yummy oat bars.
- Vanilla – Only 100% pure vanilla extract belongs in these delicious oat bars. We go with a generous 2 tsp vanilla here, which provides great aromatic flavor.
- Apple – You’ll need 1/2 cup loosely packed grated apple here. I love Honeycrisp apples, as they have such amazing apple-y flavor. You can also use Fuji or Granny Smith. If you prefer to chop your apple instead of grate them, you’ll have little chunks of apple bits to enjoy in every bite.
Optional Add-ins for Apple Oatmeal Bars
Add-ins are seriously my fave part of recipes like this. I love, love playing with various add-ins. Obviously, I kept mine basic for these pix, since I didn’t want to throw anyone off with my impulsive add-ins, but here are some yummy ideas if you’re so inclined. About 1/2 to 1 cup of any of the following:
- Your choice of chopped nuts
- Roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Shredded toasted coconut
- Your choice dried fruits (i.e., blueberries, cranberries, raisins)
- Semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Any other ideas for fun add-ins, feel free to share!
What’s the texture of these apple oatmeal bars?
These apple oatmeal bars are similar to baked oatmeal, like this Maple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal (Gluten-Free). They’re soft, chewy, and dense with a bit of fluff. I do find that these apple oatmeal bars are a just a tad fluffier and lighter in texture than your typical baked oatmeal. That’s possibly due to using applesauce instead of milk in this recipe.
These are definitely not crunchy nor crispy. If you’re looking for crisp, go with Crunchy Granola. Ultimately, their texture might be like a merger of an oatmeal cake and a chewy bar. Whether that makes sense or not, I’ve no idea, but just make these bars and you’ll know what I mean.
Why we love this apple oatmeal bars recipe
- These apple oatmeal bars are gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free so pretty much all my friends can freely devour
- These bars manage to be both healthy and super delicious
- They’re chewy soft and stay that way for days
- They keep well, airtight, at room temp for a few days
- They’re a feel-good breakfast, workout fuel, or afternoon snack (read: no guilt)
- They’re super easy to make
- You can play with all the fun add-ins you like, changing it up every time you make them👉🏼 Even picky tweens inhale these. ‘Nuff said.
Chewy Apple Oatmeal Bars (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free)
- 1 ⅓ cup pure applesauce, no sugar added
- 6 TB pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup grated apple, loosely packed (I like honeycrisp)
- 2 ½ cup GF old fashioned oats, divided
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp table salt
- Optional add-ins: 1/2-1 cup nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, dried fruit, chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on lower middle position. Grease an 8x8 baking pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine applesauce, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, egg, vanilla, and grated apple. Use hand whisk to combine well; set aside.
- Using a strong blender or food processor, blend 1 cup oats until you have oat flour. In a bowl, combine your oat flour with remaining rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and table salt. Use hand whisk to combine well.
- Gradually pour oat mixture into applesauce mixture, using rubber spatula to fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until no more dry flour streaks remain (do not over mix)
- Use rubber spatula to fully transfer batter into greased 8x8 pan, evening out the corners. Bake 30-35 minutes or just until edges are golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Do not over bake. Let baked oatmeal cool at room temp before cutting into bars. Can be stored at room temp, airtight, for 2-3 days.
Did you make this?
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