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Sugar-Free Apple Pie Bars (Gluten-Free)

You would not believe these 3-layer apple pie bars are sugar-free, gluten-free, and lectin-free. One of my favorite childhood desserts, I wanted to convert this recipe to a healthier version for a long time, and finally, here it is. These apple pie bars are made with two layers of gluten-free shortcake crust and a delicious spiced apple filling. Perfect with a warm tea or coffee while you are hugged by your favorite blanket.

There are two desserts that I can say are my Proustian madeleines: crepes and apple pie bars. Their smell, taste, and texture, and even seeing them with my mind’s eye, brings back memories from a long time ago. Food is so much more than just fuel. When I make these two sweet treats, I want to bring back feelings of comfort and coziness. And finally, I have an easy recipe for my childhood apple pie bars that is lectin-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free.

And my sugar-free, lectin-free crepe recipe is here: Chestnut Flour Crepes with Rose Water.

I was born and spent my youth in Romania, where we call this cake, literally, ‘apple cake‘. In Denmark (where my husband is from), this style of layered pastry is very popular and is called, translated in English, ‘slice‘. In English-speaking countries, this can be called: apple shortcake, apple bar, apple pie bar, apple slice, or apple squares.

Whatever you want to call it, this is an easy-to-make sweet treat that will make the transition to colder and shorter fall days sweeter and cozier.

Use this recipe to make a classic apple pie or other types of pastry bars

If you don’t feel like making it in a sheet pan, you can totally use this recipe to make a classic pie (in a pie dish). I would make an extra cup of filling for this version.

Also, you can use the dough recipe with a different filling, like sugar-free raspberry jam or even a fresh fig filling (someone mentioned they look like fig newtons).

The ingredients for gluten-free and sugar-free apple pie bars

The apple filling can’t be easier. It’s just cooked grated apple with lemon juice, a small quantity of sweetener and spices.

The dough is simply made of a mix of lectin-free flour, butter, egg, and coconut cream. Since there is no sugar in the dough, I had to come up with a different, no fuss way to mix the ingredients and the result was a very easy-to-handle dough.

This is the complete list of ingredients for this apple pie bars recipe:

FOR THE APPLE FILLING:
3 cups grated apples (about 7 medium apples)
2 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener (or a plant paradox-approved sweetener of your choice)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (one small lemon)
Spices: 2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, pinch of nutmeg

NOTE on the spices: I used 1 teaspoon of my Holiday Warming Spice Blend and only 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

FOR THE DOUGH:
1/2 cup sorghum flour + EXTRA 5, 6 tablespoons for kneading
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup chestnut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams of unsalted French or Italian butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 pastured egg
1/4 cup coconut cream
1 tablespoon sweetener of your choice (monk fruit is great)
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one organic lemon
pinch of salt

FOR THE EGG WASH:
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon hemp milk (or any other milk you prefer)

SHOPPING THE INGREDIENTS: You find links to our suggested flour types, sweeteners and other ingredients on our SHOP PAGE.

How to make gluten-free and sugar-free apple pie bars

MAKE THE APPLE FILLING:

  • Grate the apples (skin on), add them to a skillet with the sweetener and the lemon juice and cook on low heat until the liquid evaporates (for about 10 minutes). Add the spices at the end, mix well and let them cool while you make the dough.

MAKE THE DOUGH:

  • In a big mixing bowl, combine all the flour types (minus the EXTRA sorghum), and baking powder.
  • In a food processor or stand mixer, combine the room-temperature butter, egg, sweetener, coconut cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt.
  • Add the butter and egg mixture to the dry ingredients bowl, fold with a spatula, then mix with your hands until you gate a super soft, sticky dough.
  • Start adding the EXTRA sorghum flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and gently knead until you get a soft but not sticky dough (don’t worry if it seems too soft to roll out, it will go in the fridge and will change texture). The final dough should have about 500 grams.
  • Divide the dough into two equal parts, shape it into a ball, wrap each ball in plastic, and put it in the fridge for about 35-40 minutes. You want it to harden up so you can easily work with it.

ROLL OUT THE DOUGH:

  • Now you can preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Prepare a sheet pan, preferably a size that can go into the fridge. If it’s cold outside, you can just keep it somewhere cold while you prepare the second layer.
  • Take one of the balls out of the fridge, and spread it with your palms into a rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper. I use a silicon mat as a base, so the paper doesn’t slide. Add a second sheet on top and gently roll out with a rolling pin until you get a rectangle of about 11″x9.5″. Gently slide the paper with the dough layer on the sheet pan, dust it with some sorghum flour, and place it in the fridge, or if it’s cold outside, you can just keep it somewhere cold while you prepare the second layer.
  • Repeat with the second layer, using the same technique. Place the second layer in a cold spot.

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

  • Now evenly spread the apple filling on the first layer, after you dust it with a bit of sorghum flour.
  • Dust the second layer with a little bit of sorghum flour, then flip the second layer on top of the filling, then gently peel off the parchment paper. Dust with a little more sorghum flour. While this might seem difficult, just work carefully, the dough is pretty sturdy. Cracks will happen when baking anyway, so don’t worry if the top layer is not perfect.
  • Brush the top layer with the egg wash.
  • OPTIONAL: This is optional, but you can cut the uneven edges if you like (see the picture above), and with the extra dough, you can shape some leaves and decorate the top layer.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top layer is golden.
  • Place the baking tray in a cold spot to cool down before you slice it.
  • Dust with inulin powder and enjoy. Store in the fridge in a covered glass container. I love it when it’s cold.

How to store and serve apple pie bars

These apple pie bars will last a few days in the fridge, and they are even better the next day when they are cold.

I created a nutritional label for this recipe, and you can find it below the recipe card. While the cake will make 16 squares, I think it’s perfectly fine for me to have 2 bars in one serving 😊. So I think there are 8 servings in this recipe, but you do you!

My husband loved them (it’s similar to one of his favorite Danish pastry desserts) and he even added some ice cream. I can only imagine that would be delicious.

Please let me know if you make these gluten-free and sugar-free apple pie bars.

If you love ‘apple anything’, you can also try my Apple Galette with Hazelnut Crumble.

If you want to learn more about my sugar-free journey and alternative sweeteners I use in my cooking, you can check this article: How I Quit Sugar 5 Years Ago. And I Still Eat the Cake.

Sugar-Free Apple Pie Bars (Gluten-Free)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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By Claudia Curici Serves: 8
Prep Time: 1 hour Cooking Time: 40 minutes

You would not believe these 3-layer apple pie bars are sugar-free, gluten-free, and lectin-free. One of my favorite childhood desserts, I wanted to convert this recipe to a healthier version for a long time, and finally, here it is. These apple pie bars are made with two layers of gluten-free shortcake crust and a delicious spiced apple filling. Perfect with a warm tea or coffee while you are hugged by your favorite blanket.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE APPLE FILLING:
  • 3 cups grated apples (about 7 medium apples)
  • 2 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener (or a plant paradox-approved sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (one small lemon)
  • Spices: 2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, pinch of nutmeg
  • FOR THE DOUGH:
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour + EXTRA 5, 6 tablespoons for kneading
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 grams of unsalted French or Italian butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 1 pastured egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetener of your choice (monk fruit is great)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of one organic lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • FOR THE EGG WASH:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon hemp milk (or any other milk you prefer)

Instructions

1

MAKE THE APPLE FILLING:

2

Grate the apples (skin on), add them to a skillet with the sweetener and the lemon juice and cook on low heat until the liquid evaporates (for about 10 minutes). Add the spices at the end, mix well and let them cool while you make the dough.

3

MAKE THE DOUGH:

4

In a big mixing bowl, combine all the flour types (minus the EXTRA sorghum), and baking powder.

5

In a food processor or stand mixer, combine the room-temperature butter, egg, sweetener, coconut cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt.

6

Add the butter and egg mixture to the dry ingredients bowl, fold with a spatula, then mix with your hands until you gate a super soft, sticky dough.

7

Start adding the EXTRA sorghum flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and gently knead until you get a soft but not sticky dough (don't worry if it seems too soft to roll out, it will go in the fridge and will change texture). The final dough should have about 500 grams.

8

Divide the dough into two equal parts, shape it into a ball, wrap each ball in plastic, and put it in the fridge for about 35-40 minutes. You want it to harden up so you can easily work with it.

9

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

10

Now you can preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Prepare a sheet pan, preferably a size that can go into the fridge. If it's cold outside, you can just keep it somewhere cold while you prepare the second layer.

11

Take one of the balls out of the fridge, and spread it with your palms into a rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper. I use a silicon mat as a base, so the paper doesn't slide. Add a second sheet on top and gently roll out with a rolling pin until you get a rectangle of about 11"x9.5". Gently slide the paper with the dough layer on the sheet pan, dust it with some sorghum flour, and place it in the fridge, or if it's cold outside, you can just keep it somewhere cold while you prepare the second layer.

12

Repeat with the second layer, using the same technique. Place the second layer in a cold spot.

13

Now evenly spread the apple filling on the first layer, after you dust it with a bit of sorghum flour.

14

Dust the second layer with a little bit of sorghum flour, then flip the second layer on top of the filling, then gently peel off the parchment paper. Dust with a little more sorghum flour. While this might seem difficult, just work carefully, the dough is pretty sturdy. Cracks will happen when baking anyway, so don't worry if the top layer is not perfect.

15

Brush the top layer with the egg wash.

16

This is optional, but you can cut the uneven edges if you like (see the picture in the above post). And with the extra dough, you can shape some leaves and decorate the top layer. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top layer is golden.

17

Place the baking tray in a cold spot to cool down before you slice it.

18

Dust with inulin powder and enjoy. Store in the fridge in a covered glass container. I love it when it's cold.

Notes

Check the post above for a visual guide of the process.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sally
    October 16, 2022 at 11:02 am

    Is there anything g I could substitute for the chestnut flour?

    • Reply
      Claudia
      October 17, 2022 at 3:17 am

      Hi Sally, chestnut flour is very tasty and sweet, so it matters in this recipe. However, if you can’t find it, use more of the other flour. You might need to compensate with more flavor and sweetness, though, since sorghum and tapioca flours are bland.

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