Looking for a healthy apple crisp recipe for the fall season? How about an easy, refined sugar free apple crisp recipe? Well, I'm making all your healthy apple recipe dreams come true with these quick and healthy apple crisp bars! The apple crisp is made with oats, cinnamon apples, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup instead of sugar. It is complete with a crunchy, crumbly, sweet topping made of whole rolled oats, coconut sugar, and Emmy's Organics Vanilla Bean Coconut Cookies.
Have you gone apple picking yet this Fall? Do you have a bunch of apples you don't know what to do with? I found myself in the same predicament a few weeks ago and decided to make myself some apple crisp. So, if you have too many fall apples on your hands, I suggest you make these healthy apple crisp bars ASAP!
Apple crisp (and also apple crumble) is one of my favorite dishes to make during the Autumn season. It's crunchy, cozy, and way easier to make than a homemade apple pie. It's also heavenly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of caramel on top. Such an indulgent and classic dish needs a healthier counterpart, and these apple crisp bars are it! You'll hardly be able to tell that they are lighter than the real thing!
What Makes These Healthy Apple Crisp Bars Healthy?
Lately, I've been trying to bake using real, whole ingredients and less refined sugars. I was skeptical of "health-ified" desserts (for example: Halo Top Ice Cream) for a long time. Finally, I realized that the key to making desserts that are still delicious and better for you is by using high quality ingredients that are actually real! Sugar alcohols and stevia just won't do. So in this apple crisp bars recipe, you'll find ingredients like whole rolled oats (instead of refined flour), coconut oil (no butter), and maple syrup. I love oats, as you could probably tell in my recent rolled oat recipe Golden Coconut Oatmeal. Healthy oatmeal recipes have my heart! They're a great source of whole grains.
This healthy apple crisp is a refined sugar free dessert, so the only sweeteners you'll find are maple syrup and coconut sugar (and the natural sweetness of the apples). These sweeteners are less likely to spike your blood sugar compared to cane sugar.
Did I mention that these healthy apple crumble bars are vegan? Yup! No butter in this apple crisp! Honestly, it is difficult to find an apple crumble recipe or just a crumble topping without butter, so I wanted to develop one! And they are also gluten-free if you purchase gluten free rolled oats! All good things here!
What Apples are Best for Healthy Apple Crisp Bars?
For this healthy apple dessert, I suggest using honeycrisp, granny smith, or cortland apples. When I tested this recipe, I used cortland apples fresh from the orchard and they worked beautifully. For more recommendations, check out this Bon Appétit article called The Best Apples for Baking.
Wondering how to prepare your fall apples for this recipe? Make sure to peel them before dicing into cubes. Apples with the peel still on add an unpleasant texture to the completed apple crisp bars.
What is In the Healthy Apple Crisp Bar Crust and Topping?
The main ingredient in the apple crisp crust and topping is Emmy's Organics Vanilla Bean Coconut Cookies. These cookies are vegan and gluten free, made of shredded coconut, almond flour, agave nectar, and coconut oil. They are the most versatile little cookies ever! If you are allergic to coconut, do NOT make this recipe as delicious as it is!
Substitutions for Lighter Apple Crisp Recipe
There are a few substitutions you can make easily in this recipe!
- Honey can be substituted for maple syrup.
- Lemon juice can be swapped in for orange juice.
- You can add other fruit to this recipe- like strawberries, blueberries, or raisins!
- Quick cooking oats can be substituted for whole rolled oats. Do NOT use steel cut oats as a substitution.
How to Serve and Store Healthy Apple Crisp Bars
I recommend serving your apple crisp bars while they are still fresh out of the oven! You can also reheat them individually in the microwave. If you reheat them in the oven, just be careful to not burn the topping.
A classic fall combination is apples, cinnamon, and vanilla bean ice cream. Magic happens when the apple crisp is warm and the vanilla ice cream begins to melt over it! You can get creative by drizzling caramel on the apple crisp bars or crumbling them up and adding them as a topping to your morning yogurt bowl. Oats and apples just scream breakfast to me!
Store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Your bars will last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Now that all those details are out of the way, let me teach you how to make healthy apple crisp bars!
Healthy Apple Crisp Crust
- 1 cup oat flour
- 8 Emmy's Organics Vanilla Bean Coconut Cookies
- 2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 apples (cortland, honeycrisp, or granny smith)
- 1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
Healthy Apple Crisp Topping
- ½ cup oat flour
- ¼ cup whole rolled oats
- 4 Emmy's Organics Vanilla Bean Coconut Cookies
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- Grease an 8x8 baking dish and preheat the oven to 350°F
- Start by making the apple crisp crust. Add the Emmy's Organics coconut cookies and cinnamon to a food processor and pulse until it a flour-like consistency is formed.
- Add the oat flour and continue to pulse until well combined.
- Pour in melted coconut oil and blend. The mixture should be dough-like.
- Press the dough flat and evenly into the prepared baking dish and set aside.
- To make the apple filling, first peel your apples and dice them into small cubes. Set aside.
- Pour the coconut oil, lemon/orange juice, and maple syrup to a large saucepan on the stove at medium heat. Whisk together until the coconut oil has melted and everything is combined.
- Add the diced apples to the saucepan and mix until they are well coated.
- Bring the heat down to medium low and sauté the apples while stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until they have softened and released their juices. The mixture should lightly simmer and thicken during this time.
- Take saucepan off the heat, turn off the burner, and spoon the filling over the prepared crust.
- To make the topping, blend the oat flour, cookies, and coconut sugar together in a food processor.
- Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a mixing bowl. Add in the melted coconut oil and whole rolled oats. Mix by hand until well combined. Sprinkle over the apple filling.
- Baking Instructions: bake the apple crisp bars at 350°F for 25 minutes. After those 25 minutes, cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent the topping from burning. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.
- Let cool slightly before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 4 days.
Pre-bake the crust at 350 degrees for 10 minutes before adding the filling to achieve a crispier crust.
You can make your own oat flour by adding oats to a food processor and blending until fine!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 31mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g