Apples · gluten free · Vegan

TEST: Gluten-Free Apple Pie Bars

It’s as American as Apple Pie! What?!! Did you know that pie predates the Ancient Romans? Pie was made to be portable. It was, and still is, cheaper to make pie than bread. Pies are fascinating to me. They can be sweet or savory and just about every culture makes some form of pie. Here are just a few names for pies: pasties, turnovers, strudel, empanadas, pierogi, calzone…whew!

I could go on but, we are here today to report on Gluten-Free Apple Bars from Food Fanatic.


  • Almond flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Canola oil
  • Apple juice
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Apples


The aroma of the cinnamon, sugar and diced apples transported me, immediately, to a crisp, bright, colorful Autumn day in Pennsylvania. And that was even before the bars made it to the oven.

But, from here, the recipe started to fall apart for me, literally. The base ingredients really never came together to form a “dough” as described in the instructions. What I had to work with was very crumbly. Not even close to a dough, let alone a solid base for a bar. But I soldiered on with the rest of the recipe.

Once the bars were in the oven baking my confidence in the recipe rebounded. The wonderful, homey goodness of the baking apples and cinnamon rejuvenated my soul. Yes, a miracle would happen and the crumble would become solid.

Alas, it did not. I cooled the bars completely and even refrigerated them for a few hours before cutting. It was a mess. The bars were more like the inside of an apple pie than an actual bar. I gingerly transferred the “bars” to my tin and I refrigerated the tin overnight to prepare them for the testers.

The Food Fanatic Gluten-Free Apple Pie Bars received a B.

What? Even after the base disaster? Yes, the seven taste testers loved the apple, cinnamon, sugar crumbly mess.

A for availability of ingredients. All the ingredients were in my pantry and found easily in the three grocery stores I checked: Kroger, Harris Teeter and Food Lion.

B for cost of the ingredients. Almond flour can be pretty spendy. For the two pound bag pictured in the ingredients, the cost ranged from $8.00 all the way up to $12.00.

B for directions. Although the directions were easy to follow, there was a disconnect somewhere. I asked a friend to make the bars, not one of the testers, and she experienced the same issue with the crumbly base.

A for taste. Everyone enjoyed the taste,but they all thought the recipe would better be named as “Apple Pie Crumble”.  Here are some of their comments and suggestions:

“Needs a better binder so it holds together more.”

“Very crumbly, but very, very tasty.”

“It didn’t bother me that it was crumbly. I could see it used as a delicious topping for yogurt or ice cream.”

“As a crumble it’s awesome. As a bar it’s a disaster.”

“Absolutely delicious! The level of sweetness was perfect.”

“I’d add oat flour to reduce the moisture.”

Be on the look out for our next test kitchen recipe.

Please make sure that all of your ingredients are gluten free. Just because ingredients are listed  does not insinuate that they are gluten free. Please make sure you choose the appropriate ingredients for your audience of tasters. Kroger has a wonderful list on their website (71 pages) of all the gluten free items in their stores.

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