Gluten-free Spiced Apple and Cream Crumb Bars – when kids leave our home

Gluten-free Spiced Apple and Cream Crumb Bars

A month or so ago I was inspired by my kids’ small graduation gathering to start baking again. After that, the “bug” quickly took over and my husband saw that light in my eyes, and smiling said, “Oh oh.” He knew that within a few weeks my weekends would be filled with pots, baking pans, butter, sugars, eggs, nuts, my scale and my faithful flour, all displayed on our kitchen island and dining room table.

He wasn’t wrong. And with the idea of sharing baked goods with neighbors and friends I felt that I had no limit. In the meanwhile our daughter moved into her dorm, ten days ago, and our older son, who had been home for the summer, went back to NYC. We went from three children at home to one within a week.

Friends attributed my “baking up a storm” to empty nesting. They might be right, though I don’t feel sad by my kids’ leaving our home. I grew up with the poem On Children of Kahlil Gibran hanging in our kitchen, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself….You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth….” In all honesty it makes me very happy that they are living their lives and taking steps to learn and be on their own, figuring out who they are.

I guess I just feel that I have more time available and fewer obligations during the weekend. Though, I might be denying what it seems all American mothers experience when their kids leave their home. Whatever the reason, I do enjoy my time baking, and I hope you do too.

This recipe is a gluten-free adaptation from the Spiced Apple and Cream Crumb Bars in the last issue of Bake from Scratch.

Gluten-free Spiced Apple and Cream Crumb Bars – when kids leave our home

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: Cookies and BarsDifficulty: Medium
Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the spiced apple filling
  • 336 g 336 3/4 to 1 inch peeled and chopped Pink Lady apples – 2 2/3 cups

  • 260 g 260 3/4 to 1 inch peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples – 2 cups

  • 50 g 50 granulated sugar – 1/4 cup

  • 55 g 55 light brown sugar – 1/4 cup

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 apple pie spice

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 salt

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 cornstarch

  • 14 g 14 unsalted butter – 1 Tablespoon

  • 80 g 80 water – 1/3 cup

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 vanilla extract

  • For the cream filling
  • 226 g 226 cream cheese, at room temperature – one 8 oz block

  • 200 g 200 sweetened condensed milk – 2/3 cup

  • 39 g 39 Simona’s Flour Mix – 1/4 cup

  • 60 g 60 fresh lemon juice – 1/4 cup

  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract

  • 2 large 2 egg yolks

  • For the cookie and crumb layers
  • 133 g 133 granulated sugar – 2/3 cup

  • 150 g 150 unsalted butter, melted – 2/3 cup

  • 65 g 65 old fashioned oats – 2/3 cup

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract

  • 208 g 208 Simona’s Flour Mix – 1 1/3 cups

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 apple pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt


  • For the spiced apple filling
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl stir together apples, sugars, apple pie spice, and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cornstarch.
  • In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat. Add apple mixture and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook stirring frequently, until apples just softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has thickened and reduced, and apples are soft, another 5 to 10 m minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Transfer the apple mixture to the the prepared pan, spreading into a thin layer. Let cool completely, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • For the cream filling
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Make sure that there are no visible lumps before proceeding to the next step.
  • Add condensed milk, Simona’s Flour Mix, lemon juice, salt and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until well combined.
  • Beat in egg yolks until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For the cookie and crumb layers
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray and 8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over the sides of the pan. Spray the parchment paper as well.
  • In a large bowl whisk together granulated sugar, melted butter, and vanilla.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together oats, baking powder, pie spice, Simona’s Flour Mix and salt.
  • Gradually stir oat mixture into sugar mixture until combined.
  • Press 344 g (1 1/4 cups) of sugar mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is dry and just set – 18 to 25 minutes.
  • Let cool in on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, and leave the oven on.
  • Assemble the bars
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the the prepared crust. Spoon the spiced apple filling on top. Crumble the remaining sugar mixture over the filling.
  • Bake until toping is lightly golden brown and set, 30 to 40 minutes. loosely covering with foil during the last 4/5 minutes to prevent excess browning – if necessary.
  • Let it cool in the pan for 30 m minutes. Refrigerated for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  • Using the excess parchment remove from the pan and cut into bars. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

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