Apple season is one of my favorite times of the year! (Good lesson in staying in the present moment. . . I love fall, I don’t always love what comes after fall. . . enjoy the present moment, Angie!)
I looked for a healthier version of bars that I could make for my family and have as after-school snacks or send to school in lunch boxes. I found this recipe, made some adjustments, and they turned out great!
These are definitely not super sweet, so if you need to, add a tablespoon or so of maple syrup or honey (or a little stevia) to the wet ingredients. These have a lot of dates, which is my sweetener of choice, so I did not add any.
My kids loved these, so they were sweet enough for us! This is such a great alternative to a store-bought granola bar. And they will last a few days in the fridge – make them on a Sunday and have snacks before activities during the week.
Or, you can swap out the almond milk for rice, soy or hemp milk and you’ll have a nut-free healthy snack for the classroom.
Apple Oat Bars
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus additional for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 cups medjool dates, seeds removed
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, divided
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 apple, peeled and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together oats, flax and cinnamon.
Pulse dates in a food processor or blender until no big chunks remain.
Mix 3/4 cup applesauce (I like Trader Joe’s organic unsweetened) with the almond milk, dates and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and press mixture into the pan evenly. I used my hands for this step.
Top with remaining 1/4 cup applesauce, or a bit more, to make an even, thin layer.
Add chopped apples over the applesauce. (Don’t waste the apple peels! My kids ate them as I made these.)
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Broil for an additional 3 minutes.
Remove from the pan (and parchment paper) and cool on a cooling rack.
Cut into squares (or rectangles!) and enjoy!
Store these in the refrigerator. Let me know how you like them if you make them!