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Ready for a healthier, easier, and tastier take on traditional apple pie? Meet my salted caramel apple pie bars! These bars are vegan, gluten free, grain free, paleo, refined sugar free, and sugar free friendly! They’re made up of a soft shortbread crust, filled with a sweet apple cinnamon filling, topped with a crumbly streusel topping, and drizzled with a homemade salted caramel sauce. They are almost too good to be true!
How can I make these apple pie bars sugar free?
This recipe calls for pure maple syrup as the sweetener, but it can be substituted with a sugar free flavored maple syrup like this one from Lakanto if needed. It’s made from monk fruit and is sugar free friendly.
What ingredients will I need to make these bars?
You’ll need just 8 ingredients to make these bars, they’re so simple! They are:
- almond flour
- sea salt
- coconut oil
- pure maple syrup
- pure vanilla extract
- cashew butter
I am allergic to nuts. What else can I use?
If you’re allergic to nuts, you can try replacing the almond flour with oat flour, the coconut oil with vegan or grass fed butter, and the nut butter with a seed butter (like sesame seed butter or sunflower seed butter). The nut butter is only used in the caramel sauce so you could also just omit the caramel entirely if you’re also allergic to seeds. If you try using oat flour in this recipe, I would recommend adding an additional TBS of oil/butter to the crust and topping. You could also try using rice flour if you’re also allergic to oats.
What if I don’t have cashew butter?
If you don’t have cashew butter for the caramel, you can use any other nut or seed butter. I personally recommend cashew butter in this recipe.
How do I serve these bars?
I like to serve these bars chilled, but you can warm them before serving if preferred!
Why apple pie bars and not apple pie?
I personally am not a huge fan of apple pie (tragic, I know), so I decided to try a new spin on apple pie. This recipe is also super simple since you do not need to make a pie crust! I also love that this recipe is naturally gluten and grain free, which is sometimes hard to achieve with a traditional apple pie. If you love apple pie, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. It just might become your new favorite!
For the Shortbread Crust
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 3 TBS coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Apple Filling
- 2 large apples or 3 small apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 350g)
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the Cinnamon Streusel
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 TBS maple syrup
- 1 TBS coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the Caramel
- 2 TBS cashew butter
- 2 TBS pure maple syrup
- 3 TBS water
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted cashew butter)
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.
- While the oven preheats, mix together your crust ingredients until a smooth mixture forms.
- Place the crust in your prepared baking dish and use a piece of parchment paper to press it down and spread it out evenly across the bottom of the pan. Make sure it touches all of the corners of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the apple filling: mix together the apple slices and cinnamon in a large bowl until the apples are fully coated with cinnamon.
- Once the crust has baked for 10 minutes, let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Once the crust has cooled, layer the crust with the apple slices. Make sure the entire crust is evenly covered with apple slices.
- Next, prepare the streusel topping: mix together the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt until a crumbly mixture forms.
- Once the streusel topping is ready, sprinkle it over the apple slices, evenly coating them with topping.
- Place the apple pie bars back in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
- After baking, let the bars cool on the stovetop for several hours.
- While the bars cool, prepare the caramel sauce: add the cashew butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, water, and sea salt to a small saucepan and heat it over low heat until the mixture begins to bubble, stirring frequently. Once the mixture beings to bubble, remove it from the heat and let it cool completely. You can also heat the mixture in the microwave if preferred.
- Drizzle the warm caramel sauce over the bars. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Once the bars have cooled, place them in the refrigerator for several hours to chill before serving. Serve chilled.
- Store bars in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.