Applesauce Linzer Bars (Gluten-Free Variation as well)
Tastes like an apple crumb pie in a bar! Perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert buffet – not too sweet with a touch of warm spices.
The mixture (dough) doubles as a topping. Oatmeal, almonds and walnuts in the crust/topping adds a healthy content and fiber.
Make Karen’s Homemade Applesauce. Can be made a few days ahead for a quick recipe. (See recipe.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9″x 13″* baking pan with parchment paper, lightly butter, set aside.
In a stand mixer add first 10 ingredients, butter through almond extract – adding ONLY 1/2 cup of the oats.
Mix on low speed until crumbly yet well mixed, about 30 seconds.
Press dough down and take out 2/3’s of the mixture and press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
In a medium sized bowl, add the applesauce, sugar and extra flour, mix well. (Add 1/2 t. some extra cinnamon if you like.)
Spread evenly over the uncooked crust.
Add 1/2 cups of remaining oats to the dough, mix in with your hands.
Top this topping over the applesauce layer evenly, dropping small sized chunks over.
Topping will mostly cover, with a little applesauce peaking through.
Add a sprinkling of your favorite spice on top; I used ground cloves.
Bake for 35 minutes until the bars feel firm and just starting to become golden on top.
If not golden enough, carefully broil 6″ from the heat source until lightly golden.
Cool, cut into 24 squares.
*These bars have a nice layer of crust and crumb topping that stands up to the applesauce filling. If you want thicker layers, cook in a 9″ square pan instead of the 9’x13′ pan. You will have 16 bars.
Yes – you can make these up to 2 weeks ahead. Freeze tightly covered, defrost fully on countertop and cut into squares.