Cardamom apple oatmeal bars are easy to make with just handful of ingredients. These apple bars are sugar-free and gluten-free - delicious enough for dessert and healthy enough to have for breakfast!
Fall is apple season! Apples are incredibly versatile - good just as they are, a crunchy portable snack, and they can also be used in a variety of recipes from sweet to savoury. You can find apples that are sweet, tart or a bit of both, and an array of textures from firm & crisp to softer and more mealy.
In Ontario, where I live, there is a vast apple growing region producing several varieties of apples. For eating fresh, I prefer a slightly tart apple like the Empire or McIntosh, and for baking I prefer a sweeter apple that breaks down easily. Why one that breaks down easily? In baked goods like apple pies or tarts I much prefer a soft filling that is more saucy.
Health Benefits of Apple Oatmeal Bars
Apples are naturally full of goodness! Wholesome and nutritious, apples are a good source of fibre (soluble and insoluble), vitamin C and phytonutrients. Oats and dates are both a good source of dietary fibre which is required in healthy diet.
Instead of sugar we've used date 'sugar' which isn't actually sugar, it's dehydrated and ground whole dates to add a bit of sweetness. Using whole, high fibre ingredients means these bars are dense and filling.
Want to know more about dietary fibre? This article has all the info!
Ingredients needed for Cardamom Apple Oatmeal Bars
You'll need just a handful of common ingredients to make these apple oatmeal bars.
- rolled oats
- apple butter
- date sugar
The cardamom adds a delightful, warm fragrant flavour to these snack bars, but if cardamom is not your thing you can use cinnamon instead. I use green cardamom pods in this recipe. Simply crack open the pods and use a mortar & pestle to grind up the seeds. A little goes a long way in adding flavour! Don't discard the outer shell as these can be simmered in tea or added to a the water when if you are making simple syrup to impart flavour.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
How to make oat flour
This recipe uses a blend of rolled oats and oat flour. It's super easy to make oat flour from rolled oats, so you don't need to buy these separately. A high-powered blender will make this go quicker, but any blender will work. I don't have a fancy blender and it works just fine with the chopper blade.
- Add oats to a blender with chopper blade.
- Blend on high for 30 seconds.
- Stop blender and give the mixture a stir to evenly distribute the oats.
- Continue to blend until all the oats have broken down.
- Pass the oat flour through a sieve to remove any larger pieces that haven't fully broken down.
These apple oatmeal bars are incredibly versatile. Switch up the spices or change up the texture of the filling with shredded apples or diced apples. They can be eaten warm or cold.
Cardamom Apple Oatmeal Bars
- Baking pan (6 x 9 or equivalent size)
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 1 ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup oat flour (see notes)
- ¼ cup date sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp cold water
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
- ¾ cup cardamom apple butter (see notes)
- ½ cup diced or shredded apple
- 1 tsp butter (to grease the pan)
- Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Grease baking pan with 1 tsp of butter and set aside.
- Dice or shred apple and mix into apple butter.Set aside.
To make the crust
- Mix oats, oat flour, date sugar, salt and cardamom in a bowl.
- Add cold butter into the dry ingredients. Coat the butter in the dry mixture and with your fingers pinch the butter into small pieces. Keep working the butter into the dry ingredients until it's broken down into small pebble-like pieces and all the dry ingredients have been coated in the butter. Do this step fairly quickly so you don't melt the butter.
- Stir in the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to moisten the dough. You want the dough to hold together when squeezed in your hand.
- Scoop out ½ cup of the dough and put into the fridge.
- Press remaining dough into a greased baking pan. Create an even layer, getting all the way to the edges.
- Bake the crust for 5 minutes to set.
- Remove the crust from the oven and spread the apple mixture over the top in an even layer.
- Get reserved dough from the fridge and crumble on top of apple mixture.
- Bake at 350 for 15 - 18 minutes, until crumble topping is lightly browned.
- Remove baking pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Cut bars into your preferred size and enjoy!
- Store the bars in the fridge for up to a week.
- These bars are good warm or cold.