Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

In the last week we’ve made not one but TWO trips to the apple orchard because they are just SO good right now and there are new varieties every day! Our first trip we picked tons of Jonathan and Grimes and the second time it was all about the Fujis!

So, needless to say we’ve been eating a LOT of apples. And of course I’ve done a little baking…I gave my mom’s German Apple Cake a healthy makeover and it turned out DELISH. But I think our favorite thing so far has been dehydrating apples and making dried apple slices! The kids can’t get enough. And the Jonathan’s are perfect for dehydrating because they’re actually super sweet with a little tartness. Yum!

So with all the dehydrating, I was super excited to stumble upon this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Pie Energy Bites that utilizes dried apples but I knew immediately I wanted to take the recipe a step further and make them into Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars! And with a little adjusting of ingredients, that’s what I did and the results were DELICIOUS.

All the flavors of apple pie, a touch of salt, tiny chunks of almonds and dried apples, minimal ingredients and no added sugar, make these perfect for snacking or even breakfast! We love them!

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ c. Dried Apples, finely chopped in food processor
  • 1 ½ c. Raw, Toasted Almonds (you don't have to toast the almonds but I prefer the flavor it gives them)
  • 1 ½ c. Medjool Dates, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes
  • 5 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ t. Cinnamon
  • 1½ t. Apple Pie Spice
  • ½-¾ t. Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil or parchment paper
  2. Blend almonds and dates in a high powered blender or food processor until a thick paste forms. You can get it as smooth as you like..I left a few bits and pieces of almonds in mine because I like the texture.
  3. Transfer the almond/date mixture, along with all other ingredients to an electric mixer. Beat on low speed until everything is well combined and blended. Adjust spices, etc to taste.
  4. Press into your lined pan and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow mixture to set. Remove from pan and cut.
Notes
Makes 12 bars.

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Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies

Ok, so the title of this recipe would sound a LOT better if I had been able to use PUMPKIN in these brownies instead of butternut squash but guess what? The store was out of canned pumpkin when I went! I’m really hoping this isn’t another one of those pumpkin shortage years but I’m getting a little nervous to be honest.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and substituted the canned butternut squash for the pumpkin in this recipe because let’s face it…they taste exactly the same! But people looooooove pumpkin. You don’t see a butternut squash spice latte at Starbucks do you? NO. Butternut squash scented candles? NO. It’s pumpkin…all. pumpkin.

However, I’m pleased to report that the butternut squash totally worked in this recipe and these brownies turned out AWESOME. The center was definitely more fudgy than the outer edges and to me they were slightly more cake-like (which is not a bad thing at all). But they were seriously to die for and I’ll just confess…we polished the pan off in probably 2 1/2 days. So proud!

These were also some of the easiest brownies I’ve made which is a huge bonus. Not to mention, dairy and refined sugar free! Feel free to use pumpkin or even sweet potato in these, instead of the butternut squash, because they’ll turn out fabulous no matter what.

For more healthy brownie inspiration, check out my Gluten-Free Brownies and Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies! 

Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. (1⅓ c.) Can Organic Butternut Squash (pumpkin and sweet potato also work)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Almond Butter (no added oil, salt, etc)
  • ¼ c. Agave
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Organic Sprouted Spelt Flour (or whole wheat, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, etc.)
  • 2¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Sucanat
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butternut squash, almond butter, vanilla and agave until smooth.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated and batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes about 16 brownies.

 

 

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Chia Bars

I’ve been incorporating chickpea (garbanzo) flour into lots of things lately, mainly because it has a fairly neutral flavor once it’s been cooked and adds a good amount of protein and fiber to food. My favorite thing right now is to mix it into my kids oatmeal…they don’t even know it’s there! So when I saw these chia granola bars used it, I HAD to try them.

Aaaaaand…they turned out great!  I was expecting a crunchier bar but mine remained soft which is ok because we still loved them. Looking back over the original recipe, I actually missed the step about pressing them down again after they have been baked so that might have been my problem with them not being crunchy!

They are slightly sweet, a tiny bit salty and quite yummy! Love the good fats, protein and fiber from the chickpea flour and chia seeds and the little crunch from the crispy rice cereal is perfect. Great for breakfast or a snack!

Original Recipe: Power Hungry

Chia Bars
Author: 
Category: Bar
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Rolled Quick Oats
  • ¾ c. Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • ⅔ c. Chickpea Flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour)
  • 3 T. Chia Seeds
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ⅔ c. Agave
  • ⅓ c. Melted Coconut Oil
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper; spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, rice cereal, chickpea flour, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together agave, coconut oil, sucanant and vanilla until blended,
  3. Add agave mixture to oat mixture, stirring until completely coated. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Spray you hands with non-stick spray and press mixture down gently but firmly to compact into pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (I did 20) or until light golden brown on top. Remove from oven and use the flat bottom of a small pan or dish to press down granola bars again. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then use parchment paper sling to carefully lift granola bars out onto a cutting board (you can leave them sitting on top of the parchment paper). Cool for 5 more minutes and then cut into bars. Move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Avery’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

I created this chocolate chip recipe for my daughter awhile ago and had completely forgot about it until recently when the ONE and only friend I had shared it with (I’m a recipe hoarder…I can’t help it!), said she had made them with her kids. So of course I immediately dug it out and got to work on making some.

I had actually forgot how GOOD these cookies are and why I gave them the title of Avery’s “favorite”….because they are addictive and you seriously can NOT eat just one! They’re soft, chewy and have a perfectly rich, buttery, slightly sweet flavor with ZERO butter or refined sugar and to top it off they are vegan with a little help from aquafaba (check out my first time using it here!)! Win-win-win!

I’m completely ashamed to say that are little family of four polished off all 16 of these in about 3 days! Thankfully they are “healthy” as cookies go and will be an every now and then treat from now on! As they should be. 😉

Avery's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Palm Oil Shortening (I used Nutiva which is a blend of palm oils and coconut oil)
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Xylitol
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Agave
  • 3 T. Aquafaba (chia/flax egg or normal egg would work also)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1⅓ c. Sprouted Spelt Flour
  • ¼ c. Ground Flaxseed
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ¼ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ½ c. Chocolate Dream Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening, xylitol and agave on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add aquafaba and vanilla. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and slowly add to the wet ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop dough into 1½" balls and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Allow to cool on pans for about 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 16 cookies

 

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