Are you looking for snack ideas for work/ school? Ditch the store-bought cereal bars and try this recipe instead. These nutritious apple crumble squares are way better! They have a fresh, aromatic flavor, are higher in nutrients, and have a lower content of sugar. And that’s despite them being larger in size than a cereal bar!
The squares are made of three layers: a delicious cookie base, a fresh and aromatic apple pecan filling, all topped with a nutritious granola crumble. Delish!
For the cookie base I used a mix of all-purpose flour and oat flour. I have previously baked goodies with oat flour only, however I was afraid to do so with this recipe. The apple filling adds a lot of weight and I’m afraid if I eliminate gluten entirely, the squares will become terribly crumbly and won’t hold their shape.
I like baking with oat flour because it is nutritious and doesn’t have a funky taste. I find it tastes the most similar to regular flour when you bake with it, unlike bean or coconut flours. In addition, it’s also very fine which creates smooth textures, unlike nut flours which are quite grainy.
In addition to the apples, I also added pecans to the filling. They add a nice, crunchy texture and additional nutrients. However if you plan to bring these squares in an environment where there are people with severe nut allergies, you could omit the pecans. But if you still wish to add some texture, you can use chopped pumpkin seeds instead.
And for the granola, the third and final topping, I kept it as easy to make as possible. Simply mix oat flakes with butter, sprinkle a dash of sugar and cinnamon and you’re done!
To bake these squares I used a baking tray of 24 X 36 cm (9.5 X 14 inch) dimensions.
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Here’s the recipe for the nutritious apple crumble squares:
Nutritious Apple Crumble Squares
For the cookie sheet:
- 1 ½ cups (225 g/ 8 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (100 g/ 3 ½ oz.) oat flour
- ⅓ cup (70 g/ 2 ½ oz.) granulated sugar
- 1 stick (115 g/ 4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup (60 ml/ 2 fl. oz.) cream
- 1 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- zest from half a lemon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. butter for greasing the baking pan
- 2 tbsp. flour for dusting the work surface
For the filling:
- 2 medium apples, grated
- 4 medium apples, diced
- 60 g (2 oz.) pecans, coarsely chopped
- 6 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- zest from one lemon
For the crumble:
- 2 cups oat flakes
- 1 stick (115 g/ 4 oz.) unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. demerara sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the cookie sheet:
- In a bowl place the all-purpose flour, oat flour, and baking powder. Whisk them together and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the butter with the sugar until creamy and fluffy. Add the cream, egg, salt, and vanilla extract, and mix them well. Add the flour mix to the butter mixture in three steps mixing after each addition until well incorporated. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes.
For the apple filling:
- Place the sugar in a pan, evenly distributed, and sprinkle the cinnamon over the sugar. Place the pot over medium heat. Do not stir. When the sugar starts turning lightly brown, shake the pan in a circular motion and add the grated apples. Turn the heat to low and stir well. Add the lemon zest, diced apples and stir to incorporate. Remove the pan from the heat.
For the crumble:
- Place the oat flakes and butter in a bowl. Rub them together between your fingertips, until you get a crumbly texture. Sprinkle the cinnamon and demerara sugar and mix to incorporate.
For the assembly and baking:
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes at room temperature and roll it out to a rectangle of 33 X 22 cm (13X 9 inch). Place the dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spoon the apple filling and spread to cover the dough. Sprinkle the crumble over apple filling and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- After removing from the oven let it to cool for 15-20 minutes in the baking tray. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Using a sharp knife cut it in squares to a desire size.