A shortbread cookie base + baked Cinnamon Apple filling + crumble topping = an out of this world Gluten-Free, Vegan treat! Perfect any time of year but especially during Apple season and through the Fall and Winter holidays!
Perfect any time of year but especially during apple season and through the holidays, they are an easy, decadent tasting dessert…. but they are gluten-free and vegan!
Each layer is delicious but together they are pure magic!
It is shortbread-like cookie base, a baked Cinnamon Apple filling + Crumble Topping and it is out of this world YUMMY!
The cookie base has a nice buttery flavor and perfect texture that provides just enough crunch to balance the baked cinnamon apple filling which tastes just like the apples in an apple crisp and the a crumble topping is the perfect finish!
Plus they are gluten-free, vegan (that is dairy-free and egg-free) so they satisfy so many dietary needs or preferences.
And they are super easy to make!
They are made with 9 real, whole food ingredients:
gluten-free all purpose flour (we use GF Jules, affiliate link)
dairy free butter (or regular butter)
gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats
fresh chopped apples
Let’s start with the shortbread cookie base…
It’s is just 4 ingredients — Gluten-free all purpose flour (we used GF Jules, affiliate link), sugar, salt and butter or dairy-free butter — and it comes together quickly.
As an aside, you may have noticed that we are affiliate for GFJules. To learn more about why we love GFJules flour and why we have used it for 10 years, click here.
Bonus: at the bottom of that post is a one-time use affiliate Discount Code.
And importantly, purchasing through an affiliate link does not change your cost at all. It generates a small percentage of the sale for me, and purchasing through an affiliate link helps me fund this website and all the recipes I share, so thank you!
Back to the Apple Crumble Bars…
This shortbread cookie base is one of those baking instances where order of operations matters…. mix the dry ingredients, then mix in the butter 1 piece at a time.
Mix well– once the butter is all added in, mix on medium high speed for a minute or two, and a dough will form.
Set aside 1/3 cup to use as part of the crumble topping and press the rest into a prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
While it bakes, you mix together the apples and cinnamon, which will make our home smell amazing by the way when this bakes!
And while the shortbread base cooks, also assemble the crumble.
The crumble is 4 ingredients, one being part of the base dough + gluten-free rolled oats (we use GF Harvest, Amazon affiliate link), brown sugar and pecans.
To make the crumble, all you do is mix the ingredients together!
When the cookie base is done (it will be set, not browned), top the baked cookie base with the cinnamon apples…
It may look like a lot of apples but if you’ve ever baked an Apple Crisp before, you know that apples shrink a lot when they bake so you want a lot of apples.
When they baked they will release their water and shrink and become the best soft, juicy texture.
Then top with the crumble and bake!
I bake these a bit longer than our other crumble bars to make sure the apples really cook up and form the best filling. But please note, that I cover the pan with foil for the last 15 minutes.
Your house will smell amazing while these bake and you will be tempted to eat them straight from the hot pan!
You could and they would taste great but they won’t hold together well. So I recommend letting them set and cool a little bit!
They are melt in your mouth yummy, bursting with baked juicy cinnamon apples and my taste testers can’t get enough of them!
Hope you love them as much as we do!
Scroll down for recipe and leave a comment if you try.
8 tablespoons dairy free butter (or real butter), softened, cut into tablespoons (we used Earth Balance dairy-free sticks)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
⅓ cup pecans, finely chopped
¼ cup gluten free old fashioned rolled oats
*plus ⅓ reserved cup of the cookie base dough
Apple Cinnamon filling
3 cups chopped apples, peeled and cut to ¼-1/2 inch pieces
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Line 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper such that the paper hangs over the edges OR is tucked in in such a way that you can lift the paper right out of the pan when the bars are done.
Make the cookie base
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, add flour, cane sugar and salt to a large mixing bowl and on low speed combine for about 5 seconds.
Add butter, 1 piece at a time and continue mixing until a dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2-3 minutes.
Measure and set aside ⅓ cup of the dough, which will be used in the crumble.
Using your hands, press the remaining dough into an even layer in the prepared baking pan.
Bake 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown, rotating pan halfway though baking.
Apple Cinnamon Filling
While the base bakes, combine chopped apples and cinnamon in a small bowl.
While the base bakes, add the reserved dough, brown sugar, pecans and oats into the mixing bowl used for the base. Using a mixer, pastry cutter or your hands, mix until combined and "crumbly". Set aside.
Pour Cinnamon Apples over the hot cookie base and spread evenly. Sprinkle with crumble topping pinching crumble with fingers to create tiny crumble "clumps". Do not press crumble into the filling.
Bake 22 minutes, then cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Turn off oven and leave covered pan in oven 5 more minutes. This will allow apples to bake without over-browning the crumble topping.
Let bars cool completely in the pan.
When cooled completely, lift the the parchment paper out of the baking pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into square and enjoy!
Hi! My name is Karen, and I’m the mom in our Healthy Gluten-Free Family. My posts and pictures here and on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are labors of love that allow me to share a very personal journey with you, one our family has taken together — learning, experimenting and sharing how to raise a healthy happy gluten-free family. Read more ...