Gluten-Free Apple Crumble Bars! These three-layered apple bars are made with a shortbread crust, layered with caramelized cinnamon maple apples, topped with a crunchy pecan crumble.
Growing up I have the fondest memories of making apple pie with grandmother. She would always make a regular-sized apple pie, and I would use the leftover crust and filling to make a mini version. Apple pie is a classic all American dessert, served at many family gatherings. Though delicious, apple pie does take a bit of time and patience to make. Which is why this recipe is perfect because you get all of the apple pie flavors without having to make a tedious pie crust. Simple, straight forwarded ingredients, with the taste of maple caramelized apples that melt in your mouth. These Gluten-Free Apple Crumble Bars will become a forever Fall favorite!
3 Layers to Gluten-Free Apple Crumble Bars
These bars are made with 3 simple layers:
- Shortbread Crust: This paleo shortbread crust is made with both almond and coconut flour, flavored with real maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients in one large bowl, and reserve a quarter of the crust for the crumble topping. No chilling or rolling of the dough is required. This is a huge time saver!
- Apple Layer: Fresh juicy apples caramelized with maple syrup and coconut sugar.
- Pecan Crumble Topping: A quarter of the reserved crust, a few tablespoons of candied pecans for crunch and add a sprinkle of cinnamon for flavor. No separate streusel recipe is needed!
The BEST Apples
You can use almost any type of apple in this recipe, but these are my favorites:
- Honey crisp
- Pink Lady
- Granny Smith
How to Make Gluten-Free Apple Crumble Bars
- Mix all the shortbread ingredients in a medium-size bowl.
- Reserve a quarter of the dough for the crumble topping.
- Press down the remaining shortbread crust mixture into a well-greased 9x9 inch pan.
- Bake the crust for 12- 14 minutes, or until golden.
- Make the apple filling.
- Pour the apple filling evenly over the top of the baked shortbread crust.
- Sprinkle the pecan crumble mixture over the top of the apples, gently pressing down to secure.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Chill the bars. Allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes, then chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or overnight).
- Cut the bars into 16 squares and serve immediately.
Tips for Making the BEST Gluten-Free Apple Crumble Bars
- Do not underbake the shortbread layer, as it provides support for the filling. I find 12-14 minutes tends to be the perfect amount of time.
- Chill the bars, preferably overnight for best results.
- For those without dairy allergies, you can use butter or ghee in place of the coconut oil.
- You can use cornstarch in place of the arrowroot powder.
- Brown sugar for coconut sugar for non-paleo versions.
- Candid pecans provide the best flavor!
- Serve straight from the refrigerator.
For More Tasty Fall Recipes:
Gluten-Free Apple Crumble Bars
- ¼ remaining shortbread mixture
- 4 tablespoon chopped candied pecans
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and line a 9x9 inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix all of the shortbread ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
- Reserve ¼ of the mixture for the crumble topping. Take the remaining mixture and gently press it down in the lined square pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges. Once the crust is fully cooked, remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the shortbread is cooling start the apple layer. Dice the 2 large apples into small cubes and transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining maple syrup, melted coconut oil, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and lemon juice. Stir the mixture until the apples are evenly coated.
- Pour the apple mixture into a large saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook on medium heat, while continuing to stir, until sauce begins to thicken. Apples will begin to caramelize at about 5-7 minutes.
- Once the apples have caramelized turn off the heat and carefully pour the apple mixture over the top of the shortbread crust, spreading evenly.
- Take the reserved shortbread dough and toss in the chopped pecans and cinnamon, creating a crumb-like mixture. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the caramelized apples, then gently press down with a fork to secure.
- Return the pan to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crumble topping is golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool for 30 minutes. Then transfer the bars to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, (or overnight).
- Cut the bars into 16 squares, serve immediately.
- Bars can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.