Lightly sweetened whole grain apple butter bars are made with whole oats, whole wheat flour, and delicious apple butter, making them a healthy snack. Versatile recipe can use any fruit jam, butter, or sauce to make different variations.
Check out the Simple Cookie Recipes page for more easy recipes.
Easy whole grain apple butter bars are full of good-for-you ingredients but still taste like you're eating a cookie, which is the best kind of a win-win, isn't it?
We like these for desserts (especially paired with a scoop of vanilla), snacks with afternoon tea, and even occasionally for Saturday breakfast. Hey, they're way better than a doughnut!
Oat Bar Variations
Of course fruit-in-the-middle crumb bar cookies can be made with any fruit jams or spreads. I've made them with strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry jams and even a version with rhubarb butter and they're equally good.
I also love using up leftover cranberry sauce around the holidays to make a batch of these to add to our goodie bags.
But using homemade thick and spicy apple butter that is sweetened only with maple syrup is really one of my favorite ways to make these. And they're just about perfection in the fall!
Make Whole Grain Apple Butter Bars
It's super easy to just add all the ingredients - except the apple butter - to a mixing bowl and then stir it together until all the butter pieces are incorporated.
Press about half of the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and evenly spread the apple butter (or jam) onto the unbaked crust.
Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top, covering completely and pressing down lightly, before baking and cooling.
Even though these are typically considered a cookie I think they make a great homemade substitute for all those "fruity" (I use the word loosely here) granola bars sold in the stores because they are made with much better ingredients (like you can pronounce them all…). This is a truly healthy snack right here.
You can even wrap them individually and freeze them and if you put them in the kid's lunches in the morning, they will be thawed by the time lunch rolls around.
And you will know every good ingredient in them and feel good about serving them any time.
Whole Grain Apple Butter Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans optional
- 1½ cups apple butter*
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 8 or 9-inch square pan or line with parchment for easy lifting and cutting.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nuts, if using. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or electric mixer until thoroughly combined.
- Press half of the mixture (about 2-1/2 cups) into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the apple butter evenly over the top and then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the apple butter, pressing down gently.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack before cutting into 16 bars (or 12 bars for a granola bar size).
- blackberry bars
- pear butter bars
- strawberry bars
- cranberry sauce bars
Note: This was originally published in 2010 and has been updated with all new photos, formatting and printable recipe for your convenience.
Other Healthy Recipes to Try:
Whole Wheat Skillet Blackberry Cobbler (a 10-minute prep recipe)