Fall Brings Apple Pie Bars!


The falling leaves drift by my window! (ALMOST!) Fall is falling a little late this year. The leaves on our trees are still green except for the brown ones suffering from this summer’s drought. But that’s not the point! It IS the middle of October and that means it IS fall! And as much as I hate fall, I love it too! GF Apple Pie BarsI hate it until it arrives, then the cool, crisp air wins me over. So, really, I love fall (except the long Iowa winter which always seems to follow but let’s not talk about the “W” word!). I know soon the autumn leaves will turn the landscape red and gold against the crisp, blue sky. Nature’s beauty at its best! I look forward to it every year..when I’m not dreading it!

The cooler air brings with it cravings for acorn squash, pumpkin bars, and apple pie!  As the outside temperature begins to fall the fall cravings begin to rise! It’s rather Pavlovian.The other day the craving for apple pie won over any practical thing I should be doing. Like laundry. And this recipe for Gluten Free Apple Pie Bars is the recipe that made me re-wear unwashed clothes.

I greatly anticipated the aroma of apples and spices creating a warm fall delight. A few simple ingredients being magically transformed by the whisk of a spoon then tossed into the oven to become deliciousness!

In the kitchen I lined up the ingredients on the counter: Almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, apples…and as I read over the recipe I realize that the author bakes this in a 9×5 loaf pan! It perplexes me to think of going through all the apple peeling for 8 bars (per the author), and I decide to double the recipe and bake it in an 8 inch square pan. I’m tossing caution to the fall breeze…messing with a recipe AND ignoring the laundry! Scandalous! I throw open the kitchen window and breathe deep the cool air…for cooler heads shall prevail!

Changing it up: Since I am baking these bars in a larger pan than called for, and because I prefer less sugar in my baked goods, I make the following changes to the recipe:

  • Double the almond flour would be 3 ½ cups. As I stood staring at my empty 8 inch square pan, breeze blowing my hair into my eyes, I contemplated if it would fit. I put my hair in a ponytail and decided to cut the almond flour back to 3 cups.
  • I kept the sugar at the original 1/3 cup AND replaced it with coconut sugar because it has more health benefits as well as a lower glycemic index. This is important for me because I am sensitive to too much sugar.
  • I also cut the baking powder to 2 teaspoons. Don’t know why, perhaps the fall breeze was going to my head.

From there I doubled everything else in the Base recipe and measured all the ingredients into my bowl, careful not to over mix it. I wanted it to maintain a dry, crumbly consistency.

For the Cinnamon Apples I diced 4 Jonagold apples into roughly 1/4 inch pieces to equal 3 cups, used 1/3 cup coconut sugar (in place of the 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar), and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I kept it at 1 teaspoon because the base has a lot of cinnamon).

After I removed the 1 cup of crumb for the topping I dumped the rest of the Base batter into my parchment paper lined pan. I tore a sheet of plastic wrap and set it on the dough in the pan to allow me to firmly press the dough into an even layer. I removed the plastic wrap and sprinkled half the apples onto the crust, then sprinkled on the reserved crumb mixture, and topped it with the rest of the apples. I placed the plastic back on the bars and lightly pressed it all together, removed the plastic, and baked the bars for about 45-50 minutes.

Hint: I always preheat the oven 25 degrees hotter than what the recipe calls for. You lose heat when you open up the oven to insert the food, so heating it to a higher heat keeps the oven closer to the desired temp. Just remember turn the oven back down after you insert the food.

GF Apple Pie BarsThe Good: I love, love the flavor of these bars. The bottom crust is just firm, the apples still have texture, the fall spices and the slight sweetness from the coconut sugar combine into a bar that is so satisfying in that wonderful fall way! These will make a perfect mid-afternoon snack and should keep me from raiding the bag of Dove dark chocolates when I need that little something sweet. And BONUS: They are packed with nutritiousness from the almonds, apples, cinnamon, and coconut sugar (if you use it).

The Bad: These bars were a little too wet. I was afraid if I put diced apples on an almond flour bar crust that they would make the bars soft and wet, but I threw that caution to the breeze! I may try to bake them a little longer next time. If I were to heat a bar up and top it with cinnamon ice cream (Ooh-la-la!) I would definitely use the oven and not the microwave because microwaving them will make them way too soft!

The Verdict: Fall visited my kitchen that day in a big delicious way! This recipe is a keeper! I cut the bars and wrapped them individually in plastic wrap then froze them for snacky time later this week! I did the same with my Pumpkin Bars! Oh, did I mention I made Scrumpdillyicious Pumpkin Bars that day too? Oh, that cool air…we’ll talk about how delicious the Pumpkin Bars were next time…

But for now I wonder: Is it just me? Or do the falling leaves that drift by your window, those falling leaves of red and gold…do they stir your soul and drive you to…the kitchen? Do they draw you to snuggle under a blanket on the sofa with a delicious Apple Pie Bar and a hot cup of tea?

What do you like best about fall?

Till next time…

Amy

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