The Whole Smiths

Whole Eating + Happy Living

Gluten-Free Healthy Apple Bars

Healthy Apple Bars made with a buttery gluten-free flour crust topped with a refined sugar-free honey-sweetened apple cider custard filling! Healthy fall baking at its best! 

three stacked Gluten-Free and Sugar-free Healthy Apple Bars

The Magic of the Apple Bar

So we’re all too familiar with the amazing dessert known as the lemon bar but do you know about the magic of the Apple Bar? Probably not because I think I just invented it. But maybe not. But maybe I did.

I’m going to have to find out and give that a quick Google because I really want to show up at my 20th high school reunion claiming to be the inventor of the Apple Bar.

I mean, it’s no Post-It, but once you try these healthy apple bars, I think you’ll agree that it’s just as amazing as a strip of adhesive on a small square of paper.

So in the middle of making these Apple Cider Bars recipe, I had an epiphany. While I love lemon bars, the natural tartness of the lemon means that you have to add a LOT of sweetener to it.

Like way more than you would anticipate. And as you know, a traditional lemon bar uses refined sugar for that. It all adds up to a lot of bad sugar.

three stacked Gluten-Free Apple Bars with bottles of apple cider in the background

Use Naturally Sweetened Apple Cider to keep these refined sugar-free! 

These Apple Bar uses naturally sweetened apple cider (from none other than North Coast Organic) to sweeten the majority of the bar up. I even simmer the apple cider down to get a more concentrated apple flavor out of it.

I love that North Coast Organic is a brand that my family has been using long before I even began my food blog. They’re local to me so have been around in a variety of Whole Foods for quite some time so to be able to partner up with them now and share their products is such a great extension of my family’s clean eating journey.

Not to mention they have even more products to enjoy. So head over to their website and check out where their products are sold near you.

overhead shot of healthy Gluten-Free Apple Bars cut into squares with apple cider and apple cider vinegar in the background

Besides the fact that they are local and organic what I love most about North Coast Organic is the quality of their products, they actually taste like apples! Not like an overly sweetened apple-like product but actual apples that were picked off a tree.

side view of three stacked apple bars with sugar-free apple cider custard and a gluten-free crust

Needless to say, my kids gobbled these delicious healthy apple bars up and they didn’t last all that long in our house. I’d like to say it was all the kids but the truth is that my husband and I helped out. My husband mostly. 😉

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Apple Bars with apple cider custard on a black stone cutting board

How to make this Healthy Apple Bars recipe: 

 

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a 8”x11” baking pan with parchment paper leaving a bit of parchment paper hanging over the edge. In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and combined
 
Slowly add the gluten-free flour, cinnamon and salt to butter and sugar and beat until combined and a dough begins to form Once combined add the gluten-free dough into lined baking pan and press crust down into the pan evenly
 
Place the unbaked crust in oven and bake for 10 minutes Add 1  cup of organic naturally sweetened apple cider to a small saucepan and reduce down to 1/2 C. Let cool.
 
Meanwhile, beat the eggs well for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Add sugar, reduced apple cider, apple cider vinegar and combine another minute. Slowly add gluten-free flour and baking powder while continuing to mix. Combine on medium speed until well incorporated.
 
Once done, remove the baked crust from oven. Pour the apple custard filling over the crust and bake the healthy apple bars for 30 minutes

healthy apple bars - Pinterest Graphic

Tips for making these healthy apple bars: 

 

  • For the crust recipe, I used a gluten-free 1:1 flour and I find it works perfectly. 
  • You can use maple syrup instead of honey and I think agave would probably work as well. 
  • If you want to turn these into apple pie bars, add a tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg and 1/4 tsp of cloves to the apple cider custard filling. 
  • These healthy apple bars are perfect as they are but a dollop of coconut whipped cream would not hurt either. Learn how to make it here. 

FAQ: 

Can I make these apple pie bars grain-free? 

I had tried to make a grain-free version but the crust just didn’t hold up to the filling and I wanted to deliver something delicious to you, not soggy.

And here’s my philosophy on that. These healthy apple bars are supposed to be treats, not something you eat every day. And because of that (and my motto of everything in moderation), I think using some gluten-free flour instead of a grain-free is ok.

Personally, I can’t eat gluten so anything I create must be gluten-free. I do try to minimize the grains I have in my diet as I don’t respond to them well but that’s why I leave it to treats, not every day.

And I will say that these apple bars are made quickly and easily. I’d like to think they are fairly fool-proof. But they won’t last on your counters long!

Enjoy!

More recipes using apple cider: 

Make sure to check out my Apple Cider Braised Chicken + Collards I created using North Coast Organic’s Apple Cider Vinegar, it’s phenomenal! And do try my Apple Cider Moscow Mules – they are amazeballs! 

 

Gluten-Free Apple Bars from the Whole Smiths! Naturally sweetened and so delicious!
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Gluten-Free Apple Bars

Healthy Apple Bars made with a buttery gluten-free flour crust topped with a refined sugar-free honey-sweetened apple cider custard filling! Healthy fall baking at its best! 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider custard bars, healthy apple bars, healthy apple cake bars
Servings: 9 bars
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 sticks of butter room temperature
  • 2/3 C. coconut sugar
  • 2 C. gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch salt

Filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 C. honey
  • 1 C. apple cider
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 C. gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Line a 8”x11” baking pan with parchment paper leaving a bit of parchment paper hanging over the edge
  • In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth and combined
  • Slowly add gluten-free flour, cinnamon and salt to butter and sugar and beat until combined and a dough begins to form
  • Once combined add dough into lined baking pan and press crust down into pan evenly
  • Place crust in oven and bake for 10 minutes
  • Add 1 C. of apple cider to a small sauce pan and reduce down to 1/2 C. and cool
  • Meanwhile beat eggs well for 2-3 minutes on medium
  • Add sugar, reduced apple cider, apple cider vinegar and combine another minute
  • Slowly add gluten-free flour and baking powder while continuing to mix
  • Combine on medium speed until well incorporated
  • Once done, remove crust from oven
  • Pour apple filling over crust and bake for 30 minutes
  • Once baked, cool apple bars for 1 hour
  • Using excess parchment paper, lift apple bars out of baking dish and place on cutting boards
  • Using a pizza cutter, cut apple bars into squares and serve

Notes

Tips for making these healthy apple bars: 

  • For the crust recipe, I used a gluten-free 1:1 flour and I find it works perfectly. 
  • You can use maple syrup instead of honey and I think agave would probably work as well. 
  • If you want to turn these into apple pie bars, add a tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg and 1/4 tsp of cloves to the apple cider custard filling. 
  • These healthy apple bars are perfect as they are but a dollop of coconut whipped cream would not hurt either. 

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Note: I only work with companies and products that I feel passionately about and that align with the Whole Smiths’ views and that this post contains sponsored content. While I am compensated for the work I do, my opinions and bad jokes are always 100% my own.

10 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Healthy Apple Bars

    1. It’s supposed to be butter! No eggs in the crust, thank you for bringing it to my attention. I changed it above!

  1. In your instructions, number three, I think you meant to beat the butter and sugar until smooth and combined. I should have read the directions all the way through before I started . Instead I beat the eggs and the sugar and the butter and geewhiz that’s not right.

    1. You are absolutely right! There are no eggs in the crust. I apologize and have made the correct changes. Thank you SO much for bringing that to my attention!

    1. Nope. I’m not sure what went wrong. 🙁 It should be the same texture as a lemon bar. Did you not reduce the apple cider down enough? I needs to boil down considerably to enhance the apple flavor and reduce the water content.

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