It’s finally that time of year. The time when I need a steaming hot cup of chai every evening, and I put pumpkin into nearly everything I eat. Seriously. Probably 98% of my meals include pumpkin in some form. That’s to talk about another day, though. Today we’re focusing on apples. Apples that are so crisp and crunchy that sprinkling cinnamon on top or dipping into peanut butter is quite unnecessary. Really, who would want to mask the flavor of an apple in its prime? Okay, I admit I still do the peanut butter thing a lot. It’s just too good.
Actually, Justin an I went apple picking over the weekend and wound up with 20 pounds of apples (and beets, and broccoli). So my refrigerator is pretty full. Apple are going into everything: oatmeal, flatbread, stir fries. Everything. I figured I should probably do some baking with these hand picked apples, and while pie seems to be the tradition this time of year, I’ve never really been a fan. Except for this certain pie my mom always made that had a streusel topping. And even then, I just ate the filling and a disproportionate amount of streusel in comparison to what should’ve been allotted to my slice. I’ve always been a streusel fiend. Once, a friend suggested (jokingly) that I just make a batch of streusel topping. So I did. I called it granola to make myself feel better about the situation. It was worth it though. I also made streusel topped cookies, which I should probably do again.
Anyway, I decided to go with apple streusel oatmeal bars this time around.
There is something so magical about the combination of apples, pecans, and brown sugar. It really is fall in one bite. These bars are perfectly soft and doughy on the inside, with a wonderful crunch on top. The sharpness of the apples is balanced by the warmth of pecans (the best nut, in my opinion) and cinnamon, the quintessential fall spice.
Save the edge pieces for yourself. You won’t be sorry. Maybe I should think about getting one of those brownie pans that makes all of the pieces the edge piece. Does anyone have one of those? Are they worth it? Also - those crumbs are valuable. Don’t let anyone else have them. Sprinkle them on your oatmeal for a real treat.
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium apple, finely chopped (about 1 and 1/4 cups)
- For the streusel
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (room temperature)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil or line with parchment paper an 11-inch by 7-inch baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ground flax and water. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil and brown sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Pour in the vanilla extract and flax mixture and beat until well incorporated.
- Pour in the flour, oats, corn starch, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated. Fold in the apples. Press mixture into prepared baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, mix together all streusel ingredients with fingers until crumbly. Pour over the prepared dough and press down slightly to compact the mixture.
- Bake for 28-30 minutes, until edges are just golden. Cool in baking dish for at least an hour before cutting.
What have you been baking with apples this year. I’ve been trying to add them to more savory dishes (roasted with sweet potatoes and beets - so good!) But mostly I just slice them up and eat them plain.If you have a surplus of apples that need using up, do be sure to try my pumpkin apple butter. I made it a few times last season and it never lasted long enough. I suggest doubling (Tripling! Quadrupling!) the recipe.