This super delicious Apple Pecan Bars recipe is quick and easy to make. Just 10 ingredients and 15 minutes of active preparation time. Made from scratch.
These bars have a buttery shortbread crust, are filled with cinnamon apples, and topped with a crunchy sweet pecan oatmeal topping. Top them with caramel sauce, and you are going to be in heaven.
The shortbread crust is done with just 4 ingredients. Butter, flour, sugar, salt. The easiest way is to make it in the food processor. But alternatively, you can make it with a pastry cutter or two forks instead. Both methods are described in the recipe below.
The apple filling is amazing. It is not overly sweet and tastes like sweet and fresh but soft apples. I recommend Honeycrisp because this is my favorite apple but every apple you love works fine.
Just slice the apples thinly and combine with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Let stand until the crust is baked. Prepare the topping in the meantime.
The topping is crispy and tastes like pecan. I prepare my topping in the food processor as well because it is the easiest and fastest method.
Therefore, place pecans, flour, sugar, oats, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse a few times. Alternatively, you can prepare the filling in a bowl. In this case, chop pecans finely and combine with all other dry ingredients in a bowl. Then cut in butter. You can do this with a pastry cutter or two forks instead.
Then layer the apples on top of the baked crust and sprinkle with the pecan topping.
Did I mention that I let the skin on my apples? But this is up to you. You can peel the apples before you slice them if you don’t want to have the skin.
After the bars are cooled, I love to top mine with caramel sauce. A super quick but-not-made-from-scratch version of a self-made caramel sauce is to combine 5oz wrapped caramels and 1-2 tbsp heavy cream in a bowl and warm in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Stir every 20 seconds.
If you are looking for a great caramel sauce made from scratch, I love this recipe from Sally.
Then top your freshly baked apple bars with the caramel sauce and scoop vanilla ice cream on top. That’s my favorite way to eat them.
Apple Pecan Bars Recipe
- 1+½ cups all-purpose flour (180g)
- ¼ cup granulated white sugar (50g)
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅝ cup butter, cold (141g)
- 14 oz thinly sliced apples (peeled if preferred) (400g - about 2 large apples)
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (15g)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (25g)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean* (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- ½ cup pecans (65g)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (30g)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50g)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup butter (56g)
- ¼ cup rolled oats (20g)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a 9x9" (23x23cm) baking pan with parchment paper with an overhang on two opposite sides. Set aside.
- Make the shortbread crust in a food processor: Place flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor and pulse until it starts to clump. Transfer to the prepared baking pan and press with your fingers into the bottom of the pan. Then place a piece of paper on top of the crust and even with a flat-bottomed cup. Bake for 15 minutes until crust is lightly browned.
- If you don't have a food processor, then make the shortbread crust with a pastry cutter or two forks instead: In this case mix together flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then add butter and cut it into the mixture until it starts to clump.
- Apple filling: In a large bowl, stir together apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla* just until combined. Set aside.
- Make the pecan topping in a food processor: Place pecans, flour, sugar, salt, butter, and oats in a food processor and pulse until it starts to clump. If you don't have a food processor, then make the pecan topping with a pastry cutter or two forks instead: In this case chop pecans finely. Transfer to a large bowl and add flour, sugar, salt, and oats. Then add butter and cut it into the mixture until it starts to clump.
- Remove crust from oven and lay apples without liquid (if there is any) on top of the baked crust evenly. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350°F/ 175°C for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Then lift the bars out of the pan with the paper and cut into 9 bars (or more if preferred). Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.