Spiced Apple Crumb Bars 12.000

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2013 Dec 4, 2013

A brown sugar shortbread is the base for these easy, gluten-free bars. Because they are reminiscent of a pie, feel free to serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Make Ahead: The bars can be stored in an airtight container between layers of wax paper for up to 1 week. They can be frozen for up to 1 month.

12 - 24

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12-24 servings; makes large or 24 small bars

  • For the base
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup millet flour
  • 1 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the filling
  • 3 pounds tart green apples, such as Granny Smith
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the base: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with gluten-free cooking oil spray, then line with parchment paper.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on low, then high speed until lightened and creamy. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the brown sugar; beat on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy and several shades lighter. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Combine the flours, tapioca starch and salt on a piece of wax paper.

On low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until well incorporated, then add the remaining flour mixture to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into thirds, reserving one-third for the topping. Press the remaining two-thirds of the dough evenly into the baking pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden brown and just set to the touch.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Peel and core the apples, then cut them into 1/4-inch pieces, placing them in a large saucepan as you work. (If you're worried about the apples getting discolored, submerge them in water until you're finished prepping all of the apples, then drain thoroughly.) Stir in the brown sugar, tapioca starch, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, salt, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the apples start to caramelize a bit.

Spread the filling over the shortbread base. Crumble the reserved one-third of the dough evenly over the filling. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is just set and lightly golden.

Cool completely before serving or storing.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle," by Kyra Bussanich (Ten Speed Press, 2013).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.