Egg free/ Gluten Free/ Original Versions/ Original Wheat and Dairy

Apple-Filled Oatmeal Cookie Bars with a Gluten Free Option

As I type this, Thanksgiving was a few days ago and the holiday season is upon us. Sadly, winter typically signals the end of fresh fruits and vegetables from one’s home garden or the farmers’ markets, and a reliance on imported goods at grocery stores. And while the produce at grocery stores can be wonderful, there is nothing like going into one’s backyard and picking an apple off one’s apple tree. So before i throw myself fully into holiday baking, I want to include my “transition” cookie bars, made with a dehydrated apples filling. So good! And just a few simple changes can make this gluten free!



The filling for these cookies bars is made with unsulphured, dehydrated apples. I prefer to make dried apples myself by drying fresh apples in a dehydrator. Typically, this is much less expensive than buying packaged dried apples because I have an apple tree. Plus, you can make extra for snacking and other recipes, such as Gluten-Free Appalachian Apple Stack Cake. Sadly, this year the squirrels stole ALL of my apples, so I had to buy them. However, if making your own dehydrated apples is impractical or impossible, look for packages of dried apples with an ingredient list of ONLY dried, unsulphured apples. These are often labeled “organic.” Do not use dried apples that list sugar, sunflower oil, or any other ingredient in the ingredient list. (As an aside: One time I bought a package of dried apples that included sunflower oil in the ingredient list. I opened the package- the smell was so bad, I threw the whole package away.)

Dried apple slices or apple rings are cooked with the other filling ingredients in a covered saucepan on low heat until the apples have softened and have absorbed most of the apple cider or apple juice. (This is why it is important to use DRIED apple slices.) This can take 30-60 minutes. I use only 2 cups of apple cider to cook the apples. After the filling is cooked, I place the filling in a food processor and pulse until the filling is blended, but visible chunks of apple remain.

At this point, the apple filling may appear fairly dry because it has absorbed all of the apple cider. If so, add up to an additional 1 cup of apple cider, 1/4 cup at a time, until the filling is moist, but not runny. The apple filling should be slightly warm when the cookie bars are assembled so that some of the flavor of the apple filling soaks into the cookie layers.

Prepared apple filling.


When both volumetric and weight measures are provided, the volumetric measures should be considered approximations. The standard measure for a cup of sugar is 192 grams. By volume, this measure will typically be less than 1 cup. When baking, it is always best to use a food scale to measure dry ingredients so one achieves consistent results every time a recipe is repeated.

For the gluten-free version, I used My Gluten Free Flour Mix. Due to the varying characteristics of gluten free flours, other gluten free flour mixes are not guaranteed to work. Refrigeration time is essential with the gluten-free version to allow the flours to absorb moisture and eliminate the gritty “gluten free” texture and taste. Since there is very little moisture in these cookie bars, the gluten-free batter should be refrigerated overnight to allow the flours to absorb moisture and eliminate the gluten-free grittiness.


Once the filling is ready, the cookie bars are very easy to assemble and bake. So rather than boor you with telling you here the same things that are stated in the directions, I will simply show you the pictures as it is assembled and baked, and let you get on to baking!

The bottom layer, with half the cookie dough, ready to bake.
The bottom layer, after baking for 10 minutes.
The bottom layer, topped with the prepared dried apple mixture.
Topped with chopped pecans…
and caramel sauce.
Rest of the cookie dough is carefully layered on top, and it’s ready for the final bake.
Baked! Even though it smells wonderful, let it cool before you dig in.
Look at that wonderful apple layer between 2 layers of oatmeal cookie bars. ENJOY!

Apple-Filled Oatmeal Cookie Bars with a Gluten Free Option

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By Connie Teunis Serves: 12-16

A delightful oatmeal cookie bar filled with a rich apple filling. and with just a few simple changes, this can be made gluten free!


  • 5-6 ounces Dried, Unsulphered Apples*
  • 128 g./ 2/3 c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • 1 t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 t. Ground Ginger
  • ½ t. Ground Cloves
  • 2 c. Apple Cider or Apple Juice, plus up to 1 cup additional cider or juice
  • Cookie Bars:
  • 113 g./ 1 stick Butter, melted
  • 144 g./ ¾ c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • 150 g./ 1 ¼ c. All-Purpose Flour OR 192 g./ 1 ¼ c. My Gluten Free Flour Mix + ½ t. Xanthan Gum***
  • 100 g./ 1 ¼ c. Quick Cooking Oats (NOT instant) or 120 g. Gluten-Free Oats
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 15 g./ 1 T. Molasses
  • (Add 1 Large Egg for Gluten Free Cookie Bars)
  • ½ c. Caramel Sauce**
  • 60 g./ ½ c. Chopped Walnuts or Chopped Pecans



For the Apple Filling:


Place all filling ingredients, except the extra 1 cup cider, in a medium saucepan. On medium heat, bring to a slow simmer; reduce heat to low and let cook until apples are soft but not mushy, and most of the cider or juice has been absorbed. This may take 30-60 minutes. Cool slightly.


Place the cooked apple filling in a food processor, working in batches if necessary. Pulse for a few seconds to chop the apples. Chunks of apple should be visible. Add the reserved cider or juice, up to one cup, to the apple filling if the filling appears dry. Set aside. There should be about 570 g./ 1 ¼ pounds of filling if all the cider or juice is used.


For the Cookie Bars:


Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar, cinnamon, all-purpose flour, or My Gluten Free Flour Mix + ½ t. xanthan gum, oats, baking soda and salt.


Combine the melted butter and molasses; add to the flour and oat mix, and fold together until there are no dry ingredients. (For gluten-free cookie bars, cover the cookie batter and refrigerate overnight before baking.) Place ½ (approximately 260 g.) of the cookie batter into an ungreased 8”x8” glass pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


Remove from oven. Gently spread the apple filling over the cookie base. Top with the chopped nuts. Drizzle caramel sauce over this. Top with the remaining cookie batter, pressing gently into the caramel/apple filling.


Return to the oven and bake an additional 30 minutes, until the topping is just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack; cool completely.


Before serving, run the flat side of a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cookie bars from the pan.




*Do not use apples treated with oils, sulphides, or any other ingredients or chemicals. Unsulphured dried apples are often labeled "organic."


**Commercial caramel sauce was used in this recipe. If the caramel sauce is thick, warm it slightly until it can be easily poured.


***My Gluten Free Flour Mix:

70 g./ 7 T. White Rice Flour
35 g./ 3 1/2 T. Brown Rice Flour
24 g./ 2 T. Potato Starch
15 g./ 2 T. Millet Flour
11 g./ 1 1/2 T. Tapioca Flour

This equals 155 g. per 1 cup.

To make a large batch at once, I multiplied the above amounts by 8:

560 g./ 56 T. White Rice Flour
280 g./ 28 T. Brown Rice Flour
192 g./ 16 T. Potato Starch
120 g./ 16 T. Millet Flour
88 g./ 12 T. Tapioca

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