Vegan apple crisp bars with streusel topping are a great gluten-free apple recipe for fall! See how to make easy apple pie crisp bars with just 20 minutes prep. And there’s more to love about the apple pie bars because the recipe is super easy and quick!
Try the apple crumble bars for breakfast, afternoon snack, tea time, or topped with ice cream as flavourful dessert after dinner. You’ll love these apple streusel bars no matter the time of day!
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Gluten-free vegan apple crisp bars recipe
These gluten-free vegan apple crisp bars are a delicious fall baking recipe, similar to apple crisp shortbread bars, that combines an easy apple pie stovetop filling and gluten-free buckwheat flour crumbs in a healthy apple pie bars. Even better, this apple crisp bars recipe is allergy-friendly, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free and grain-free. Yup, that’s a lot of frees.
With autumn in full swing, I crave healthy apple cakes, cookies, cider… you name it. These apple crumb bars are bursting with apples and autumn flavours, but the gluten-free streusel turns this recipe into delicious fall comfort food. It’s a simple blend of buckwheat flour, coconut sugar, palm shortening, cinnamon and a splash of water, which a become crunchy crumb topping.
My apple hand pies are gluten-free yet not grain-free, while this applesauce cake is grain-free but not nut-free. Using buckwheat flour allows making a healthy apple dessert that is grain-free and nut-free. I know a few people who can’t eat neither grains or nuts due to allergies. I hope these allergy-friendly apple crisp bars complete the collection of easy fall baking recipes and vegan apple recipes we have on CHC.
How to make apple crisp bars
Once you see how easy and delicious this apple crisp bars recipe is, you’ll want to make easy apple crumble cake all autumn long. So, let me show you how to make apple pie bars with streusel topping:
Stovetop apple pie filling
This stovetop apple pie filling is sweet, buttery and full of delicious warming spices! The apple crisp baking time isn’t long enough to soften the apples, so we precook the filling on the stove. Here is what to do:
- Peel and cut the apples into small bite-sized pieces.
- Add the apples, coconut sugar, palm shortening, apple pie spice and water to a medium saucepan.
- Cook over high flame for 7 to 10 minutes. Stir constantly as the sugar easily burns.
- The filling is done when the sugar has melted and caramelised, the apples are tender, and the liquid is mostly gone.
- Set the apple pie filling aside to cool.
The apple pie filling can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store it airtight and refrigerated until you’re ready to bake. I also love spooning this homemade apple pie filling over yoghurt or porridge, so good! Do you know more apple pie filling ideas? Let me know!
Tip: If your short on times make apple bars using canned apple pie filling.
Mix the buckwheat crumbs
Buckwheat crumbs taste very soft and nutty. Making the crumble is the easiest thing ever. This is what you do to make gluten-free buckwheat streusel:
- Put the buckwheat flour, tapioca flour/starch, coconut sugar, ground cinnamon, and palm shortening into a large mixing bowl.
- Combine the ingredients with a fork first. Then work the mixture with your fingertips to form crumbs and streusel.
- Add 1 to 3 tablespoons ice-cold water to the crumble dough. The amount of water you need can vary, so start with 1 tablespoon of water and incorporate well. The goal is to create vegan crumbs that hold their shape and are slightly sticky.
If you don’t have tapioca flour/starch use arrowroot powder instead or regular starch if not gluten-free.
Layer the buckwheat crumbs and vegan apple pie filling
Onto the fun part: layering this delicious vegan apple crisp recipe! This step is the easiest:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C / gas mark 4.
- Line a 11 in x 7 in / 28 cm x 24 cm deep baking pan/tin with parchment/baking paper.
- Sprinkle 2/3 of the buckwheat crumb mixture into the pan/tin and press into an even layer.
- Add the apple pie filling and use a spoon to spread out the homemade pie filling evenly.
- Top with the remaining crumbs and optionally sprinkle with a little sugar for an extra crunchy topping.
Bake the apple crisp bars
The difficult part of this recipe is to wait until the apple pie bars are baked and you can dig in.
- Bake the apple crisp bars for 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes and cover with foil if the crumb topping is browning too much.
- Let the vegan apple crisp cool in the baking pan/tin for 30 minutes. Then lift the apple pie bars out of the pan using the overhanging parchment/baking paper as handles.
- Cut into 12 to 16 bars.
Vegan apple crisp bar variations
These vegan apple crisp bars don’t need anything added, but there are a few ways how you can customize the recipe:
- pears – Instead of apples, the apple crumble bars can also be made with a pear filling. The amounts and directions are the same, simple sub the apples for pears.
- nuts – To make the topping even crunchier, sprinkle the easy apple crisp bars recipe with crushed nuts before baking.
- citrus zest – If you like citrus fruits, add the finely ground peel of one organic lemon or orange to the crumb batter. So refreshing!
What is buckwheat? Is buckwheat flour gluten-free?
Although buckwheat flour contains the word “wheat”, it’s a seed, not a cereal grass like wheat, and therefore not a grain. Buckwheat is related to the rhubarb family and is classified as pseudo-grain/cereal, together with quinoa, chia, and amaranth.
Buckwheat is high in antioxidants and a great source for fibre, different B-vitamins and a variety of minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Some of the antioxidants in buckwheat flour, mainly the flavonoid rutin, are said to have anti-inflammatory properties and be good for colon health.
As buckwheat flour doesn’t contain gluten, it tends to be crumbly, and I added a little tapioca flour to the crumb topping.
What does buckwheat flour taste like?
Buckwheat flour has a nutty, earthy flavour. The taste reminds me of roasted chestnuts with hints of hazelnut. Buckwheat, in combination with coconut sugar and cinnamon, creates a rich fall aroma in these apple streusel bars.
Do I have to use buckwheat flour?
No, you can swap for other flours. If you want gluten-free apple crisp bars and grain-free isn’t needed make the apple pie bar recipe with a gluten-free flour blend, for example from Bob’s Red Mill, Cup4Cup or King Arthur.
Otherwise, use regular all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour.
I don’t think a nut-based flour would work in this apple pie crisp recipe as the texture would be too different. But if you try it let me know how it goes.
How do you store apple pie bars?
Store the apple crumb bars in an airtight food container. They are fine on the counter for 2 days. The gluten-free apple crisp bars will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze apple crisp bars?
Yes, this apple streusel bars recipe can be frozen. They are a little too crumbly for freezer bags, so pack them in a freezer-safe storage container and put wax/sandwich paper or parchment/baking paper between the layers.
Homemade apple pie bars will last 2-3 months in the freezer. You can pop frozen apple crisp bar in the microwave for a minute whenever you want to enjoy a healthy vegan snack.
Frozen apple pie bars will be less crispy after freezing, the crunch is the best for freshly baked apple cakes.
Tools to make vegan apple crisp bars:
Tab or click the highlighted text below to shop the products used to make these spicy apple bars.
More fall baking ideas
With autumn in full swing, why not try more fall baking recipes? I just can’t get enough of healthy apple desserts, so here are a few more gluten-free recipes with apples you can try:
- DIY apple pie spice
- homemade apple sauce
- applesauce cake
- crunchy apple crumble
- apple pie energy bites with cranberries
- tasty apple hand pies
- easy apple cider
Over to you!
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