bars cakes/cupcakes dessert Fall gluten-free vegan

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars {Gluten-Free & Vegan)

August 28, 2013

I am officially becoming my mother. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. I have always been a planner, which I most definitely get from my Mom. My Mom always plans for dinner parties weeks (if not months) in advance. Her hard work always pays off but I’ll admit that I have scoffed at her eagerness at times. That was until I began contributing to dinners and was working full-time. Planning well in advance became key.

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars // #glutenfree #veganThings got taken to a whole new level on Sunday. The Jewish holidays are a big event for my family. Jews love their food and boy do we eat well. Rosh Hashanah usually falls sometime in September (it is early this year) which means naturally my Mom must begin preparing food in early August to then be frozen until the holidays. The menu is usually set in July. I have always thought this was kind of crazy but now I get it. Life is BUSY. I work all day everyday, I cook most of my own food, I blog, I exercise, I attempt to have a social life so finding time to prepare a feast for a room full of Jews requires a lot of time and effort, which I don’t necessarily have.
Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars // #glutenfree #veganSo when I happened to have a bit of time this past Sunday you better bet I started prepping my contribution. I should add that I happened to choose a recipe with a bagillion steps…homemade salted caramel takes time my friends! As decided in July, I am making Two Peas & Their Pod’s recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars. I’ve made these a bunch of times and they are always a hit. Plus apples are a staple at the Rosh Hashanah table so it is fitting.
Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars // #glutenfree #veganHere’s the thing, for all of the hard work I put in, I can’t even eat them! They are dairy-full, and gluten-full and are basically a nightmare for my stomach. Watching people enjoy my goodies definitely brings me some satisfaction but I would rather eat the bars. So after spending two hours making the original version I got to work on a gluten-free, vegan and somewhat healthified version that everyone can enjoy. I was overjoyed with the results. These taste decadent and delicious and my stomach loved every bite. So if you’re also prepping for the holidays or just looking for a fantastic dessert recipe you should probably consider this treat! But don’t worry family, you will be getting the unhealthy version 😉

Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

by The Healthy Maven

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Keywords: bake dessert dairy-free gluten-free vegan bars

Ingredients (Yields: 16 bars)

For Salted Caramel:

  • 1 cup dates (soaked for at least 2 hours)
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T reserved date water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp salt

For The Apple Layer:

  • 5 cups peeled and diced apples
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup oat flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp dried stevia
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground all-spice

For Crust/Crumb Layer:

  • ½ cup coconut oil+ 2 T, cold
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 cups Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 T Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

For the salted caramel:

2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until caramel consistency is reached. Set aside

For the apple layer:

3. Peel and chop apples and place in a bowl. Cover with lemon juice.

4. Combine oat flour, cornstarch, stevia and spices in a separate bowl. Stir until well combined.

5. Mix flour mixture with the apples until well coated.

For the crust and crumble:

6. Mix flours, baking powder, salt, flaxseed and palm sugar in a bowl.

7. Using a pastry cutter, cut in cold coconut oil until dough reaches pea-like consistency.

8. Stir in apple sauce. Mixture should be dry.

9. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with coconut oil or non-stick spray.
10. Take 2/3 of crust/crumble mixture and flatten along bottom of dish.
 11. Top with apple layer.
 12. Using half of the salted caramel to coat apples generously.
13. Sprinkle remaining crust/crumble mixture overtop.
14. Bake for 40 mins.
15. Allow to cool to room temperature. Do not try to cut before or they will fall apart, which is fine if you just want crumble but if you want to serve them as bars let cool.
16. Cut into 16 bars and pour remainder of salted caramel over bars.
17. Keep in fridge if any leftovers exist! Store salted caramel at room temperature.

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  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    August 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

    This. Looks. Insane. I can already feel the post sugar coma, but damn it’ll be worth it!

  • Reply
    Amy @ The Little Honey Bee
    August 28, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Yay step-by-step pictures! When I find the effort for this, I will make it happen because looks deeeelish. Maybe for breaking the fast?! Since oh, mom volunteered this year. Lucky us.
    “Jews love their food and boy do we eat well” <--- amazing

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 10:44 am

    THIS. IS. AMAZING. I may just have to top this off with some vanilla bean ice cream? 🙂 🙂
    Karen @karenlovestorun

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    August 28, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Oh girl, these sound AMAZING! Normally I’m not the biggest fan of recipes that take a billion steps, but for special occasions and when I’m making things for others? Totally worth it. And I love the combination of apples, caramel, and an oat/coconut crush. Gah! Drooling over here, and it’s not even 5 AM 😛

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 11:23 am

    UM wow those looks really really really good!!!!!

    We definitely start preparing for Christmas in november…especially all the cookies and dessert bars we make that we can stick in the freezer!

    Have a great day 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      I LOVEEEEE christmas baking. Growing up I used to help my friend’s family! I miss it. May have to start up the tradition again 🙂

  • Reply
    charlotte @ commitness to fitness
    August 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    ooommmggg this looks beyond amazing. i want to reach through my computer screen right now!! ok i need to get breakfast bc im starving, but now i nothing i get is going to be as satisfying as those look!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      I wish I could send them to you through the computer screen…Toronto isn’t that far right? K it’s a bit of a trek but still!

  • Reply
    Jan Sproutsnsquats
    August 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Yum these look so delicious 🙂

    A very belated happy birthday too!!

  • Reply
    Run like a G!
    August 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    They look amazing!
    I am not Jewish but I was surprised how early Rosh Hashanah is this year! I work at a card store and we already have the cards up 🙂
    Over the past year, I have been learning more about the religion because it is so fascinating! I remember student teaching and teaching my students about the Jewish holidays 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      SO MANY CARDS AHHHH! I’m not too religious…I’m really just in it for the food 😉

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    August 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Oh my gosh I want to drive to Toronto right now and invade your freezer – these look amazing! I bet they are 100% worth all the work that went into them.

    My family usually makes a big deal out of Christmas, and we begin planning and prepping about a week or two beforehand. The three days before the day are usually spent baking batches and batches of cookies!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Doors always open!!! I absolutely love christmas cookie baking! I used to do it with my friend growing up. I think we need to start the tradition up again!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Salted caramel may just be one of the greatest things in the world, and apple in anything is perfection. This recipe is fantastic! I’d LOVE this.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Thank you!!! Salted Caramel makes my world go round! Especially in ice cream form 😉

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    August 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    These look INSANELY delicious. Sadly even the health-ified version is no good for my complicated tumy 🙁 I’ll just stare at the pictures and dream lol

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Awww noooo! What can’t you eat? Would love to make a recipe for you that is tummy friendly!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Poldon
    August 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    My mom is italian, so naturally, holidays involve two meat options, several types of potatoes or pasta, a couple salads, and endless choices on the veggie front. We always have leftover, and they always get eaten (cranberry sauce on EVERYTHING post-thanksgiving)!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      I can only imagine what it must be like to have an italian mom! Probably not that far off from a jewish mom right? SO MUCH FOOD!

  • Reply
    Micayla Jacobs
    August 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I can’t believe its 9:08 and you already have so many comments – guess my “celeb” comment wasnt so far from the truth! I think i might actually make these daveats…just have to get my shit together and stop being so lazy!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      Your friend is a real live celebrity. People are going to be taking pictures of me at TIFF. NOT!!!!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Saving this recipe now.. and trust me, I will be making it one of these days. Perhaps I can contribute it to a party we’re having while in the states. They just look so good

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    This looks awesome! I have trouble motivating myself to cook lots of stuff ahead of time, but I do make some killer pumpkin bars around Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers
    August 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    These look fabulous! That gets me in the fall spirit. 🙂

  • Reply
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey
    August 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Hahahaha this post cracked me up. You are amazing. I don’t ever know what the heck I’m doing in the kitchen, so being able to substitute and switch things around to make healthy recipes blows my mind! I just stick to making what you and Amy post 🙂 One day.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      It’s a total fluke! I really did not expect these to turn out. Maybe I’ll freeze some and send them back with you when you visit!?!? Also for the 10th time I LOVE YOU! Obsessed with the spoons!

  • Reply
    Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures
    August 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    This is awesome!! I think these are perfect in every single way! I’m almost drooling over here… You create magic in the kitchen, I tell ya! I’m sorry you can’t eat them… I wouldn’t create those if I couldn’t eat them – I lack that kind of self control, even if I knew it would make me sick!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      trust me, I don’t always have the best self-restraint! It’s kind of torture but hopefully I can just convert my family to GF and DF??? Total long-shot….

  • Reply
    Shashi Charles
    August 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you for adapting these bars to be dairy and gluten free!
    Love the use of dates in the caramel!
    I had to scroll down so I could avoid looking at them for too long – seriously drool inducing! 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      hahahaha yeah they are pretty drool worthy! So much goodness. Too bad they take forever to make! Wish I could send you some 🙂

  • Reply
    Danielle @Labelsarefortincans
    August 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Nice! Those look awesome. I am impressed you took the time to make the originals and then adapt them. My Mom is totally like that too and I’m slowly becoming that way! Probably better. I used to be a way bigger procrastinator!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      I actually slaved in the kitchen on Sunday. Worth it! As much as we deny it, we all become our mother’s in some-way-shape-or-form!

  • Reply
    Megan (The Lyons' Share)
    August 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Looks delicious! I got sad for you when you said you worked so hard for something you couldn’t enjoy, so I’m glad you can enjoy these! I like to plan everything well in advance, but my mom is the complete opposite, which sometimes makes holiday food planning tough 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      No way!!! I can’t even imagine having my Mom be a last-minute planner. We had family vacations planned two years in advanced! I

  • Reply
    kumars kitchen
    August 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm


  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    My jaw just hit the floor!! I LOVE all your recipes because they are dairy free and I CAN MAKE THEM!! THIS IS AMAZING AND I WANT THE whole pan in my face!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Self-restraint was at a maximum when I made these! Also photographing them was pure torture. I almost did take the pan to my face!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Oh my these look incredible!! Love that they are dairy free as well!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I think those are the best kind of treats! I love making cookies for my family because I really don’t like them, but I love watching them enjoy them:) Hope you had a great BDay!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      It’s wonderful being able to share goodies with the fam and friends. Even better when you can also eat them!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I originally read ‘I am officially becoming a mother!’ and ran straight to the comment section to say congrats before realizing nobody else mentioning it. It is too early in the morning!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      August 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      HAHAHAAHAHA omg you totally win best comment award! I don’t think I can handle that right now…or anytime soon for that matter!

  • Reply
    Jillienne @ ChasingRaspberries
    August 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Oh my! I want one right now! These look mouth watering!

  • Reply
    Sarah Cook
    August 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I would be a mess if it weren’t for planning! Your mama taught you well.

    These bars look sinfully delicious!

  • Reply
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    August 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Oh goodness, these crumb bars look great! I would easily sneak in a few of them to eat! 🙂

  • Reply
    Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen
    August 28, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Oh wow- this is an exciting cooking challenge! They look amazing too! Look at you planning ahead. So funny because I too have noticed how much I’m becoming my mother. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I told her she was embarrassing me? 😉

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Hahahaa omg I know what you mean about turning into your mother…my life story! Also these look downright scrumptious.

  • Reply
    Beth Sheridan
    August 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Oh any fruit plus a crumble…YUM!!!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I absolutely love these bars and salted caramel – always a winner.

  • Reply
    Katie Martino
    August 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I am drooling at my desk right now! Those look soooo good!!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Oh wow those look to die for! might have to make those for a little ladies night I’m having next week!

  • Reply
    *CaNdY FiT*
    August 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Way to make me drool! 😉

  • Reply
    Audrey @ In Shape Cupcake
    August 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    How can anything look better than this! Well, nothing probably can! Those look FANTASTIC Davida!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    WOW! These look outrageously amazing. We always go apple picking in the fall and have an abundance of apples. Besides apple pie I’m usually at a loss of what to do with them. Problem solved!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 2:00 am

    those bars look delicious! i can’t believe they are “healtified!” but i love anything caramel.

  • Reply
    Christina @ Pinch of Healthy
    August 29, 2013 at 3:30 am

    Wow these look amazing! I’ve never tried freezing desserts before but I’ve heard that most freeze well so I think I may just start doing everything ahead of time. It would definitely save me a lot of stress because it does get hard trying to cook up a storm the few days before an event and I always end up staying up really late the night before trying to get everything done!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      September 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      desserts freeze super well! especially pies. Just throw em into the oven the day of 🙂

  • Reply
    Ksenija @ Health Ninja
    August 29, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Oh my, excuse me if I’m drooling, these bars look just too good to be true. I nominated you for the Liebster award, pretty! You can find all the information in my post. <3

  • Reply
    Christine@ Apple of My Eye
    August 29, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I’m in LOVE with how much crumble there is on these! I always consider the topping the best part of bars or pies, and the fact that they also have salted caramel on them blows me away! PINNING!

  • Reply
    Frances Stiles
    August 29, 2013 at 11:53 am

    These look so good!!

  • Reply
    Frances Stiles
    August 29, 2013 at 11:53 am

    These look so good!!

  • Reply
    Robyn Coale
    August 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    oh wow these look DELICIOUS!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 2:45 am

    These look amazing! Thanks for sharing. My 21 month old daughter is on a gluten free diet and she LOVES salted caramel ice cream, so this recipe would be perfect. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 4:04 am

    i’m definitely trying these out! they look AMAZING! thanks so much for sharing this!!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I wish I can plan ahead like you! My goodness, these salted caramel apple crumb bars look so good! I love caramel in my desserts or bars, and I like the fact that you used date water in the recipe. This snack/dessert is a perfect one for the fall/cold days! Thank you for putting these step-by-step photos together, it is really helpful to see them. I usually freeze a lot of herbs (lemongrass, cilantro, pesto, etc.) or even tamales, but not too often, maybe 1-2 times a month.

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      September 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      I’ve never thought to freezer herbs! I should definitely do that with the herbs from my mini herb garden before the winter comes!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Gosh! I LOVE the look of these!

  • Reply
    Love What You Do
    August 31, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Mmmmm! I was just trying to decide what to bring to Rosh dinner and I was thinking apples would be perfect. What an amazing looking recipe!

  • Reply
    Gabby @ the veggie nook
    September 4, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Um, YUM. That is all 🙂

  • Reply
    September 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Looks delish!!! Curious what you think about subbing honey for the agave? And do these freeze well?
    Thank you!!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      September 7, 2013 at 12:38 am

      Yes to honey. I used to agave to keep it vegan and because it has a bit more of a caramely taste but honey would definitely work. Not sure about freezing since these were gobbled up almost immediately but the original freezes great so definitely give it a shot!

  • Reply
    Cindy Gordon
    September 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    There are seriously NO words to describe how awesome those look! Got you down as a favorite this week at Gluten Free Fridays! Got this pinned and tweeted!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2013 at 11:44 am

    This looks…like perfection on a plate!!!…Could I possibly use coconut palm nectar or Kitul syrup (have you heard of this as a healthy alternative low GI alternative to liquid sugar?!)….I have spotted it in the “bio” health boutiques here in France!…

    Thank you for brilliantly inventing a dairy-free caramel that the the tribe will surely love…it has the gooey unctuousness that they seem to REQUIRE …but since finding out I am missing, sadly, an enzyme to correctly digest any dairy…this recipe is truly a FIND…and they will “get their caramel” back…thanks to you!…Recent discoverer of your great blog and recipes…and appreciate the gluten and dairy free offerings very much….Thank you again for sharing your culinary creativity!

    • Reply
      Davida @TheHealthyMaven
      September 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Thank you Donna! I have not heard of kitul syrup but will certainly look into it! I use coconut palm sugar in the crust/crumb part of the recipe and you can certainly try using it in the caramel though I don’t know that you will reach the same consistency or taste. I use agave in the caramel which actually has a very low GI of 17. Some people don’t like it as it is usually very processed but I was trying to keep the recipe vegan and it has a more of a caramelly taste than say raw honey. I should look into Kitul syrup for sure.

      Let me know if you end up making the recipe!

      Thanks again Donna 🙂

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