apple-picking-soloTo be honest, I don’t like fall just because the weather is getting colder and I know winter is coming. We say goodbye to picnics, days relaxing by the pool, and the outdoor festivals. There are, however, a few redeeming factors about the fall season (and I stress a few): pretty colorful leaves, delicious pumpkin flavored everything, and apple picking!


After a wonderful time apple picking in the rain and cold (did I mention I don’t like fall?), I obviously started baking with the 10 lbs of apples I came home with. I purposely chose Cortland apples, which are sweeter and perfect for baked goods. I wanted to try something different than the basic apple pie or crumble, so I decided to make apple bars with a healthy twist. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!





  • 1 cup chopped walnuts and oats mixed, in any proportions you wish(any type: old-fashioned, instant, steel cut, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Fruit filling:

  • 7 cups diced peeled apples
  • 1/2 cup 100% orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Prepare crust: Combine 3/4 cup of the walnut and oat mixture, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until well incorporated.
  2. Whisk egg, oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla and almond extract in a small bowl. With the motor running, add the mixture to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump, 30 to 45 seconds (it will look crumbly). Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and combine in a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup of nuts and oats. Set aside for the topping.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Generously grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  4. Prepare fruit filling: Combine 5 cups apples,  orange juice, sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 cups apples, cinnamon and vanilla.
  5. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom to form a crust. Spread the fruit filling over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved topping over the filling.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, until the topping is slightly brown.
  7. Let cool completely before cutting into bars, at least 1.5 hours.



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