Caramel Apple Crisp Bars {Vegan!}

I’ve identified a new global force. It is the uncontrollable pull between these Caramel Apple Crisp Bars and my mouth.

Caramel Apple Crisp Bars. (I can't believe these are vegan!)

It’s as if these gooey, caramely, and apple-stuffed brown sugar bars know the secret melody to my heart. Every time I am within three feet of my kitchen (ahem, anytime I’m home and not dead asleep), they sing me a sweet siren love song, and I am left with no option but to sneak another bite. Their allure is unstoppable, and I have neither the will nor the desire to resist.

Caramel Apple Crisp Bars. Ooey gooey caramel apple bars with cinnamon streusel topping and crust. A healthy vegan recipe that tastes completely decadent! #apple #vegan

Gooey Caramel Apple Crisp Bars (Vegan!)

When Caramel Apple Crisp Bars are on the premises, my after-dinner scene goes something like this:

  • Gingerly lift the foil off the Caramel Apple Crisp Bars.
  • Cut off a small sliver and pop it into my mouth. This ensures the quality hasn’t slipped since my last check-in, 10 minutes prior.
  • Cut actual dessert serving and transfer it to a plate.
  • Trim away a few more slivers, until the edges of all remaining bars are at exact right angles. This level of precision requires four to five additional bites. I’m a perfectionist.

Caramel Apple Crisp Bars are just one of those desserts—the ones you can’t stay away from, spend your entire dinner dreaming about, and justify eating for breakfast. They are gooey and brown sugary and cinnamony and everything else that fall desserts can and should and must be.

Vegan Caramel Apple Crisp BarsThese Caramel Apple Crisp Bars are also vegan! No, no I’m not becoming vegan anytime soon—my attachment to dairy runs deep and true—but after nailing this Vegan Caramel Sauce, I thought I’d see if I could make a decent-tasting vegan dessert too. Ohhh. Myyyy. Worddddd. I had no idea that a vegan dessert could taste this decadent and—excuse the dietarily-inappropriate term—buttery. Dear soy margarine, I misjudged you. (Non-vegans, regular unsalted butter will work beautifully in this recipe too.)

To recap, we have 8×8-inches of: 1) a thick, buttery (sorry, I don’t know another word to describe the taste), brown sugary, oatmeal-crisp base, topped with, 2) maple caramel apple gooey goodness, followed by, 3) more cinnamony, crumby, crispy topping.

Caramel Apple Crisp Bars - Healthier vegan recipe made with whole wheat flour

Anyone else hear the singing? I think I better go check on the pan….

Caramel Apple Crisp Bars {Vegan}

Yield: 1 8x8-inch pan
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
Just like caramel apple crisp, in portable bar form! A buttery, brown sugar oatmeal base, topped with maple caramel and fresh apples, finished off with even more brown sugar and oatmeal crumble topping. Made with whole wheat flour, these bars are a bit healthier, but no one will know your secret. (Use soy margarine, and the bars are 100% vegan too!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour — (plus 3 tablespoons) divided
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 10 tablespoons soy margarine — (1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons such as Earth Balance, or regular unsalted butter
  • 2 cups peeled diced firm apples — such as Granny Smith (about 2 large or 3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup vegan caramel sauce — or your caramel sauce of choice

Instructions

  1. Place rack in center of your oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, all-spice, and nutmeg. Add the vegan margarine in small pieces, then quickly work it in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press 2/3 of the crumbs into prepared baking dish. Evenly arrange the sliced apples over top.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the caramel and remaining 3 tablespoons flour. Pour evenly over the top of the apples, then sprinkle with the remaining crumbs.
  4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Let the bars cool completely before cutting—or serve very messy, very delicious bars immediately.

Recipe Notes

Store leftover Caramel Apple Crisp Bars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Caramel Apple Crisp Bars {Vegan}, Healthy Vegan Dessert

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

More sweet ways to get your apple a day:

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

49 comments

  1. I love apple crisp. BUT I have never had it IN a bar or with caramel. I haven’t even tried one of these and I am already dreaming about the goodness! Pinned :)

  2. Haha, I like the quality checks performed on a 10 minute repeat. Now we know how good they are! Have a good weekend, Erin!

  3. The ends and trimmings are your right as a baker! Get ’em girl!

  4. I love testing desserts to make sure they’re still perfect. They have to be perfectly square, you know…no raggedy edges!
    I’m sure I would dream about these, too! They look so happy.

  5. I’m interested in trying this out as well. Definitely not vegan but would like to try caramel sauce too.

  6. These are perfect for fall- and that after dinner routine sounds just like me when there’s ANY kind of bar-like dessert in my house! Quality control, right? Plus these are vegan, which automatically means they’re healthy and you can eat more… ;)

  7. Apple crisp in bar form – yes please!!! And I am so glad you mentioned it, one or two of them would be perfectly acceptable for breakfast ;). Yay for apple season and fabulous treats like this one!

  8. HAHA – I can relate all too well to just trying another tiny sliver….pretty soon whole pan is gone….These bars look awesome!! What a great fall recipe! Oh and Go Irish :)

  9. Oh yeah, it’s ALL about quality control when baking, right?! Nobody has ever received a dozen muffins from me, ahem…it’s 11 (or 10 if I’m extra cautious), thank you very much. What if you leave out the sugar…or something? ;) gotta keep those high QC standards with slices and nibbles! These and your caramel sauce look divine. If it would only get under mid-90s here, I could think apple dessert. Right now, I want that apple icy cold! Whew!

    Hope the unpacking and transition are going well. Hugs from NC! Go Heels!

    • Joanie, thanks so much for your nice note and hello! I’d say it is the duty of the cook to QC AT LEAST two muffins, so you are doing your friends a favor :) I hope it cools off for you soon, and until it does, enjoy the end of the summer weather!

  10. Thank you Erin for the nice recipe.

  11. WAIT!!! Don’t go and check on that pan – please let me!!! All this talk of oatmeal-crisp base and mapley caramely apple gooey topping with more cinnamony, crumby, crispy topping makes me think you need to put that knife down and back away and leave me to do some judging! Cool? :)

  12. These apple desserts are making me crazy! Totally going to the orchard this weekend. These are some fine looking bars.
    Happy Friday Erin!

  13. MMM i can just taste (and smell!) them now! Wonderful dessert for the fall season coming up :)

  14. Danae @ Recipe Runner Reply

    I am totally the person who just keeps trimming off little slivers of desserts and before I know it half the pan is gone. That is exactly what would happen with these yummy caramel apple bars!

  15. I’m so excited for all apple season. These bars look so delicious! I could eat a pan of these by myself :D

  16. Oh gosh, these look dangerously addictive! I’m very familiar with that whole “oh, I’m just evening out the pieces” dance :) Looking forward to giving these a try!

  17. My eyes always light up when I see a recipe with apples! Sounds absolutely delicious!!

  18. yum!! these make me excited for fall!! I have never baked with Earth Balance – I will have to give it a go!!

  19. Quality checks…such a difficult part of the job of a food blogger :) Love these bars, Erin!

  20. I too am a Loooooong time apple crisp lover. One of my all time favorite desserts from childhood. I think you really did manage to capture it in a bar. I am surprised and pleased.

  21. I love these! That made me giggle because my after dinner scene is always like that if there is baked goods in the house :) I would definitely be munching on these like there is no tomorrow!

  22. I love apple crisp! My mom always baked it when I was growing up. I know I’d love these bars. Bonus that they’re vegan too!

  23. These sound amazing! I love the combination of caramel and apple flavours!

  24. These look amazing. Going apple picking in a couple of weeks, this will give me something new to try with all those apples! (in addition to an excuse to make the caramel sauce!)

  25. I would like to experience this new global force…and think it would have the same effect lol. WOW to these look good girl!

  26. Oh man these sound incredible!!! AND they are vegan?! Which means they are healthy right??? Yea, let’s go with that :)

  27. These look soooo good and they are vegan! Yay!! I’ll have to give these a try :) Pinning now!

  28. I am a sucker for anything with streusel and will gladly take any of those trimmings off your hands or pan :) This looks amazing and love that they are vegan – that means I can have more right??! Pinned :)

  29. Feedback booth time! Another keeper! I got my bottom layer a little too thick but they were still very, very good (all gone in < 24 hr via us and sharing). I should have listened to you and peeled those apples, tho (me=lazy). I also used all KAF white WW. I'm going to have to start me a lil old "Erin hits" notebook at this rate! ;). Thank you for adding to the rotation list. Our cool air is coming, so more Erin's caramel and Erin's apple bars on the way soon!

    • Joanie, I love your feedback, and I love you for trying so many of my recipes! Makes me smile every time :-) Thanks for the detailed report, and I might try these with all white WW myself next time. Thanks again, so much!

  30. Wow…looks delicious!

  31. Yep. Reckon that would be an uncontrollable force too, love the sound of these little beauties.

  32. Mmm my mouth is watering at 7am….They have fruit so they can count as breakfast right?!

  33. Was delicious! Thanks for sharing it. My vegan husband was in heaven!

    • Debbi, I am so so excited to hear that you and your husband loved these bars! “Vegan heaven” is the highest praise for which I could ask :) Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out for you!

  34. yum! i’m going to try these out tonight to bring for our dessert day tomorrow at work! i have a coworker who is vegan and she is going to be so excited!!

  35. Hi there, I would like to make this dessert in a 9×13 pan. Would you recommend doubling the recipe? Thanks. 

    • Hi Rita! I have never made the recipe this way, so it would be a bit of an experiment, but generally to go from an 8 x 8 pan to a 9 x 13 pan, you are fine to double the recipe. You will likely need to adjust the baking time though, so just keep an eye on them. I hope you enjoy!

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