Apple & Oat Mix-in-the-Pan Bars
One glorious summer, we lived in a house that had a large field out back with a couple apple and pear trees. The landlord told us we could harvest the fruit. Not one to turn down free food, I carted a big soup pot into the weeds behind the house and spent several blissful afternoons climbing through the branches, relishing the sunlight streaming through the leaves, delighting in the wild rural solitude, and… oh yeah, picking apples.
Climbing the trees made me feel like I was 9 years old, scampering up any trunk I could get my grimy little fingers around. When I ran into the angry snake hiding in the weeds, I bolted back to the house like that 9-year-old. And never returned.
Serpents aside, apples are really fun to bake. They don’t require very much sweetener to cook quickly into sugary goodness.
These Apple Bars
Apples, oats, and cinnamon is a match born for Autumn. And Mix-in-the-Pan Bars were born for a frugal, healthy, quick cook. One small bowl, one small pan, one small spoon. If I’m honest, I use one measuring cup and eye-ball the amounts of ingredients – that’s how forgiving these bars are.
They taste like an Apple Crisp grew up, went to the city, and became classy. No need to slop it in a bowl like an apple crisp – just eat it like a bar.
Perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert. Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan. You can serve it with ice cream – or vanilla yogurt for breakfast.
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- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cups flour (spelt, whole grain, oat, gluten-free, and almond all work great)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 6 tbsp butter, melted (coconut oil or palm shortening work great)
- 2 cups apples, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In an 8x8-inch pan, stir together oats, flour, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and melted butter. If mixture seems overly wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time, but no more than a few tablespoons.
Use your hands to press half the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Reserve the other half (you can just push it off to the side in the pan to avoid dirtying another dish).
In a small bowl, combine apples and lemon juice.
Pour the fruit over the oat crust in the pan (scooping reserved oat mixture into the bowl once it is emptied of fruit), then spread it evenly over the crust.
Sprinkle reserved oat mixture over the top of the pan and gently press it into the apples.
Bake for 30-40 minutes.
Cool for about 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate until completely cooled (this helps the crust firm up really well). When cooled, cut into squares and enjoy for breakfast, dessert, snack, or whenever.
- I like this best with oat flour (rolled oats I just ground up - you can use a coffee grinder, food processor, or I used my Nutribullet dry blade - affiliate link) because they are such an inexpensive whole grain and they are gluten-free.
- If using granulated sweetener (brown sugar, coconut sugar, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, rapadura, etc.), use 1/2 cup.
- If using coconut oil, don't place in refrigerator to cool. They will become too hard to cut.
- If you want the fruit to maintain a little more umph and shape after baking, add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar to the apple/lemon juice mixture. I want to use the least amount of sugar, so I don't. Speaking of which, feel free to decrease the maple syrup, if you like. These are quite sweet in my opinion, and a little less won't hurt them if you want to try.
Please note: The actual calories and nutrition of this dish depend on what ingredients you use.
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