Apple Crisp Pecan Bars

It’s hard to imagine an autumn dessert that isn’t comforting, with the warm & cozy flavors of cinnamon + spice everything nice:) Fall foliage, crisp cool air, Halloween decorations, and football games all go better with autumn desserts! This apple crisp on pecan crust is like having your apple and pecan pies all in one delicious bite! This recipe is gluten-free and vegan, so everyone can enjoy it! We used Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Stone Ground Corn Flour in the apple filling as well as the crumb topping, which makes a really yummy crispy topping. Melted Earth Balance and pure maple syrup hold the pecan crust together. And, besides all of the fabulous flavors, it’s a healthier version of dessert too … an added bonus! 

We love using Honeycrisp apples for our pies and baked apple desserts because they hold up really well and never seem to get mushy. It’s great to have a little bit of integrity left to the apples after cooking them! They also taste delicious raw or baked. But, if you prefer the tarter taste of Granny Smith of Pippins, certainly don’t hesitate to use those, or even a combination of apples.

The crumb topping in this apple crisp is slightly different than normal crumb toppings, because it calls for oil in place of butter, which not only makes it a wee bit healthier, but it’s way easier than cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter! You just stir in it until the whole mixture is crumbly. We also use a similar topping on Rosalies Coffee Cake, a quick and delicious breakfast treat that will remind you of Starbuck’s Classic Coffee Cake!

What we love about apple desserts, too, is that you can pick and choose your favorite spices, so if you love all spice, use it. Or if you prefer cloves, you can add those. Our very favorites are cinnamon and cardamom, so we usually stick with those!

Apple Crisp Pecan Bars

A delicious fall dessert made with apple filling and crumb topping on a pecan crust. Gluten-free and vegan, too!
Servings 16 Servings
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 25 mins

Ingredients

Pecan Crust

  • 3 cups pecans
  • 3 tbsp. melted Smart Balance or Earth Balance, or butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Apple & Spice Filling

  • 3 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup, honey or light agave syrup

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

Pecan Crust

  • Grease or spray an 8-inch square casserole dish. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Lightly toast pecans and then finely chop in the food processor. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Evenly pat the nut mixture onto the bottom of the prepared casserole dish, covering the entire bottom of the dish.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 375° F. and remove from oven. and cool to room temperature. Keep oven at 375°.

Apple & Spice Filling

  • In a large bowl, toss together apples, brown sugar, corn flour, cardamom, cinnamon, lemon juice, and maple syrup until the apples are well coated.
  • Spoon apple mixture evenly over cooled pecan crust.

Crumb Topping

  • Mix all crumb topping dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Stir in oil and mix until crumbly with pea-sized lumps.
  • Evenly distribute the crumb topping mixture over the apple mixture.
  • Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, or until apples are fork-tender, and, crumb topping is golden brown and crispy. Cool for 30 minutes or longer, before cutting into squares.
  • Serve with the vanilla frozen concoction of your choice: ice cream, nice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: apple crisp, apple crisp pecan bars, apple desserts, apple pie, fall desserts, pecan crust

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