Apple crisp bars with pecans, oats, and butterscotch chips are bursting with your favorite fall flavors. This easy recipe makes a delicious fall dessert for Thanksgiving or other festive event.
Visiting a local apple orchard is one of our family's favorite fall traditions. When we come home with huge bags of freshly picked apples, I'm always looking for new apple recipes to make sure not a single one goes to waste.
These fresh apple crisp bars remind me of our favorite apple crisp, but are a little different because they have a secret ingredient: butterscotch chips!
If you love dessert bars with a crispy-chewy texture like I do, you will go nuts over the addition of pecans to the oatmeal crumble topping.
They add so much flavor to each bite.
Why This is the Best Recipe
I love baking dessert bars for a family treat, especially in the fall. I think this is the best apple crisp bar recipe because:
- So Much Flavor: Fresh apples, pecans, oats, and butterscotch chips?? Yes please!
- Chewy Texture: I love the crispy topping and chewy middle. The oats and pecans add such a wonderful texture.
- Easy to Make: Just press the crisp topping into a baking pan and fill it with fresh apples.
Homemade apple crisp bars are so easy because you only need a few pantry ingredients to make them:
- Fresh Apples: I love using Granny Smith apples in my apple crisp recipe so I use them for apple crisp bars, too.
- Old Fashioned Oats: Not quick oats, you need the rolled oats to get the right texture for the crisp topping.
- Brown Sugar
- Butter: I use salted butter for all my baking.
- Kosher Salt
- Butterscotch Chips: These are optional, but I think they are sooooo delicious.
Make the Apple Crisp Topping
If you love apple crisp, you'll really love these apple crisp bars. The crust and the topping are made out of the same one-bowl mixture.
The big difference is that this recipe uses ground pecans mixed into the flour for extra flavor and a chewy texture.
Grind the pecans in a food processor or break them up with a kitchen mallet in a plastic bag.
Whisk the ground pecans into the flour.
Stir in the old fashioned oats, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Stir in the melted butter and vanilla until the crisp topping comes together. Set aside.
Prepare the Baking Dish
Set out an 8x8-inch baking dish.
Line the baking pan with parchment paper to help you remove the apple crisp bars neatly later.
Press half of the prepared crisp mixture into the bottom of the pan and reserve the other half for the top crust.
Layer the Apples and Butterscotch Chips
Peel and core the apples. Then chop them into small ½-inch sized chunks.
Sprinkle the fresh apples and the butterscotch chips evenly over the crust.
Add the remaining half of crisp topping evenly over the apples.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the bars for 35 - 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
It is very important to let the bars cool completely in the pan before you attempt to remove them for serving.
This allows the apples and butterscotch chips to firm up and slice better.
The apple crisp bars are best the day you bake them but will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
As much as I love this apple crisp bar recipe as is, there are several ways you could change things up for a new variation:
Nut-Free Apple Crisp Bars: If you want to skip the nuts, you could substitute ⅓ cup flour for the ground pecans.
Apple Crisp Bars with Citrus Zest: You could add a pinch of fresh lemon and/or fresh orange zest to the apples mixture. Then they'd taste even closer to my delicious apple crisp recipe.
Healthy Apple Crisp Bars: You could omit the butterscotch chips and add a few chopped pecans to the apple filling for more protein.
These sweet apple crisp bars are the perfect party treat to make for Halloween or an easy Thanksgiving dessert for the kids.
If you decide to skip the butterscotch chips, you could drizzle them with homemade caramel sauce and serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Apple Crisp Bars
- ½ cup pecans
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 apples peeled, cored, and chopped into ½-inch pieces
- ½ cup butterscotch chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Place the pecans in a food processor or blender and grind them into a coarse flour texture. Add them to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Stir in the melted butter and vanilla until the mixture comes together in wet crumbs.
- Press half the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Top evenly with the apples and butterscotch chips. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top.
- Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender.
- Cool completely in the pan before cutting so they can set properly. Pull the bars up out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper and then cut into squares for serving.
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