This is the out come when apples, oats and peanut butter come together... I bring you Peanut Butter Apple Crumb Bars! Sounds like a food disaster about to happen right? To make, possibly... that depends on how rammy you get with the peanut butter jar (don't worry I have some tips for you because this is me). But once the baking and cooling is over, they turn out to be a healthy and satisfying snack that can be packed around!
Apples with Peanut Butter on their own make a great snack, so pack that together in between two layers of oat crumble you have a more practical packable snack! Why is it so great? Other than the taste it has all the components of a smart snack. PROTEIN, and CARBS with FIBER. Oats are a good carbohydrate with fiber that will give you energy and keep you feeling full during that long wait between breakfast to lunch. Complimenting that is the peanut butter that provides protein, making it satisfying (I mean who wants to eat a bag of oats all on its own??). The apples finish it off by providing a serving of fruit and sweeten it with their natural sugar.
Start with the apples. With fall here, fresh apples are in abundance and I took full advantage of that and bought a whole bunch of BC orchard run apples that turned out to be excellent for baking. Any apple will do, use this as an opportunity to use up any apples that are past fresh eating prime. Wash, core, and chop them keep the peel on! Fiber is your friend! Cook them in a covered sauce pan with some lemon juice, cinnamon and a little water until they are soft. How soft is up to you, I like a little crunch left, remember they will be baked some more later once the bar is assembled. I let them cook while I am getting everything else together.
The crumbs are very simple. Oats, butter, baking soda, and a little brown sugar. Most often these crumb recipes call for mainly all purpose flour, which has very little fiber or nutrients. To change that I used rolled oats, and processed them in my food processor to the point that it looked like flour... Oat flour! Easy fix! More fiber and nutrients! Spread a little over half of it into a parchment lined baking pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes
Now for the dreaded PB jar... just thought of baking with peanut butter makes me cringe. I always seem to get it every where but the place that it is supposed to go. Trying to spread it is a waste of time, and it leaves an oily residue behind to remind you just how difficult it is to work with. With all of that said my love for peanut butter always wins. Try to go for the "just peanuts stuff", you don't need all of the other stuff, especially in baking! Here is a tip that makes it easier to work with. Measure out the peanut butter into a glass, oven safe measuring cup. (if you have a pyrex cup its most likely safe.) Place it in the oven along with the crumbs, this makes it possible, maybe even easy to spread over the warm crumbs when you take them out of the oven.
Once you have the peanut butter spread, (and a possible time out if you need) spread the cooked apples over top and sprinkle the remaining crumbs over top. Now just pop it back into the oven for another 15 minutes and let it form into the most delicious Peanut Butter Apple Crumb Bar you have ever tasted!
It works best to wait until it is completely cooled to cut it into squares, but I understand that takes a long time and you probably won't be able to wait that long to try it. No one will notice if you cut a corner off, you can even it out later!
Peanut Butter Apple Crumb Bars
· 3 cups rolled oats processed down to 2 cups (using a food processor)
· 1/3 cup brown sugar
· ½ cup melted butter
· 1 tsp baking soda
· 3 large apples
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 1 tbsp lemon juice
· 1 tbsp water
· 1 cup natural peanut butter
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
2. Core and chop apples into small pieces.
3. Place apples, lemon juice and water in a saucepan, cover and simmer on low until apples are tender. Add more water as needed.
4. Combine processed oats, brown sugar, melted butter and baking soda together in a mixing bowl.
5. Press ¾ of mixture into 8x8 greased parchment lined baking pan.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.
7. Let crust cool slightly, then spread evenly with peanut butter.
8. Pour cooked apples over top of peanut butter.
9. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top.
10. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
11. Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.