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Vegan Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

These vegan Salted Caramel Apple Pie bars the the most amazing apple dessert! So much easier than apple pie and they are incredible!! Such a great fall baking recipe.

These Vegan Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars have a bottom crust, a layer of sweet apples, and are topped with a crumble topping and salted caramel sauce. They are divine!

Ingredients

Scale

For the Crust

1/2 cup refined coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

For the Filling

2 large apples (use a sweet and tart variety for most complex flavor), peeled and thinly (1/4″) sliced

2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar

1 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Topping

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup solid coconut oil

For the Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce

15 pitted dates*

1/2 cup water+more as needed

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon Coarse Real Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line an 8X8 inch pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving overhang on all sides.  Set aside.
  2. Start by making the crust.  Stir together the melted coconut oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.  Add the flour and stir until combined.  Press the mixture into the pan evenly and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  3. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling and topping.
  4. For the filling, combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside.
  5. For the topping, stir together the oats, sugar, cinnamon, and flour.  Add the solid coconut oil, in chunks, and combine with your hands.  You can also use a pastry cutter or two knives to do this.  I just use my hands. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs when you are finished.
  6. Remove the crust from the oven, and turn it up to 350 degrees.  Layer the apples evenly on the warm crust.  Press them down so they all fit.  Sprinkle the apple layer with the streusel topping.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.
  7. While they are baking, prepare the vegan salted caramel sauce.  Put the dates*, water, vanilla, and salt in your blender.  Start on low for about 10 seconds, then turn it up to high and blend until you have a smooth mixture.  Add additional water as needed to achieve your desired consistency.  Taste and add more salt if you prefer.  I have a powerful Vitamix blender which makes the sauce super smooth; other blenders may not be able to completely remove all date chunks.  It will still be delicious! (But I highly recommend a Vitamix for that reason. :)) Set the sauce aside.
  8. When the bars are finished baking, pull them out of the oven and allow them to cool, on a baking rack, at room temperature for about 20 minutes.  Then place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.  This gives the bars a chance to firm up before cutting.  They won’t stay together as well without this step.  You can also refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  9. Cut the bars into 9-16 bars and top with the salted caramel sauce.  Enjoy!

Notes

*Soft dates work best.  If your dates aren’t soft, soak them in hot water for about 5-10 minutes.

Recipe inspiration from here and here.

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