Recipe Connection: Apple Squares (You can Freeze ‘Em!)

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I have a bad habit of leaving things in my freezer too long.  It’s not that I don’t know they’re there.  In fact, I’m very organized and (almost) always have a good handle on what’s in my freezer.  It’s just that I’m such a born conservationist.  I tend to think, “I need to save these for when I really need them,” (surprise visitors, need a quick meal, etc.).  My husband is quick to point out when something is freezer-burned.  There’s the nasty taste and aroma, and sometimes things get dried out or too chewy.  It’s always a bonus, then, when I can find a recipe that will let me have my flaws and eat them too.

apple breakfast breadThese apple bars may actually be more moist after a year and a half in the freezer than on day one!  Yes, I’ve left them in there that long before.  They come out in incredibly good shape, and you can just eat (serve) them without even having to microwave them to moisten them up.  Truly melt in your mouth.

This passes for a breakfast bar, snack food, or a dessert (looks like cake, smells like cake, melts in your mouth like cake…).  It’s the perfect fall food when apples are in season and plentiful.  I made a double batch last week to share with my Bible study gals and again yesterday for Baking Day.

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The original recipe is from 30-Day Gourmet’s Freezer Cookbook that I checked out from the library a few years ago.  Here it is, (then keep going for my healthy upgrades):

Apple Squares
 
Cook time
Total time
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Ingredients
  • Apple Squares
  • 2 c. white flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 c. coconut oil
  • 1¾ c. sugar
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. unpeeled, chopped apples
  • ½ c. nuts (optional)
  • Frosting
  • 1 ½ c. powdered sugar
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 3 T. water
  • 1 t. vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350
  2. Stir dry ingredients together.
  3. In another bowl, beat oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Add dry to liquid ingredients, beating well.
  5. Stir in apples and nuts.
  6. Pour into greased 15x10x1 cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Frost once cooled or mostly cooled.
Notes
I, of course, am the short-cut girl. I beat the wet ingredients together first, then add the flour and all the other dry ingredients right on top and pseudo-mix them together then mix everything up.

*Other fruits (blueberries, drained pineapple, sweet cherries) may be substituted for apples.

Healthy Upgrade

  • Replace half of the white flour with whole wheat flour
  • Replace half or even the whole cup of oil with applesauce (Not that I’m afraid of fat, you know, but it’s neat to be able to make something so apple-y in the fall!)
  • Reduce the sugar by ¼ cup (or more!)

HealthiER Upgrade

  • Use 100% white whole wheat flour OR
  • Use coconut oil or melted butter (I used half homemade applesauce, half coconut oil and butter mixed.  It was just that kind of day, running out of everything!)
  • Add the walnuts – so tasty and full of omega-3s!
healthy apple dessert cake

Don’t overbake them or they’ll lose the moist-ness that makes them great!

Because these freeze so very well, it’s worth it to double the recipe every time.  I made a single batch today as part of Baking Day and kind of regretted only having 24 squares to share with Buddy Boy’s school group Friday and for ourselves.  The only part that really takes more time is the apple chopping.  I happen to have the best 4-year-old helper in the world.  Check this out:

What a serious look on his face!  He's a hard worker, for real.

What a serious look on his face! He’s a hard worker, for real.

He says, "Mom, I'll do it all.  You don't cut anything."  Independence (stubborness) is in his genes, I'm afraid. I cored and quartered the apples and he did the rest! (That's a cheese slicer, not a butcher knife, by the way.)

He says, “Mom, I’ll do it all. You don’t cut anything.” Independence (stubborness) is in his genes, I’m afraid. I cored and quartered the apples and he did the rest! (That’s a cheese slicer, not a butcher knife, by the way.)

I mentioned Monday that I’d share my meatloaf/meatball recipe and how I freeze them, but that’s going to have to be next week.  We’re talking animal fats next week anyway, so it sort of fits!

Other Fall Recipes:

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70 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    Ha! I do that too! I put stuff in the freezer for when I REALLY need it, then I leave it there for a REAL emergency, which never seems to happen, or seldom. I’m starting to try and use things like that up before they’re no good.
    And why use another bowl for dry ingredients? I never do, just dump it in and mix. So much quicker! I should subscribe to your site, but I’ve already subscribed to so many I can hardly keep up. Maybe I’ll have to delete one of my others!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Twila,

    Too cute! I, too, can’t keep up with all that I’d like to read, so we have that in common as well!

    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. says

    These look great. Love the healthy upgrades too. I’m sharing your link with my facebook and twitter followers today.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Heather Reply:

    Giana(2 1/2) & I just made a batch of these and used half King Arthur white whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup chunky applesauce for 1/2 cup oil. Then followed the remaining ingredients.

    We did not frost them but have already enjoyed them warm!! Julia the other twin!! Likes to enjoy the benefit from our experiments but not the labour!! It’s fun to see how different they are.

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. says

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who keeps stuff in the freezer or otherwise because I just might need them for ___________. I could totally relate and my dear husband bemoans the fact from time to time.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m definitely going to have to try it…and of course freeze some to have just in case I need them. :)
    .-= Lydia ´s last blog ..Scottie’s Facial Tissue Coupon =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Sarah W says

    I look forward to trying these. Although I tell you this b/c I think you’d like to know… I was a wheat germ adder-inner too until I was introduced to NT. Sally Fallon advises against wheat germ b/c it goes rancid easily and says it makes no more sense to eat the germ apart from the bran as it does to eat the bran apart from the germ.

    Cheers!

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. jan says

    made the apple squares recipe yesterday. Since I didn’t have the ‘right size cookie pan’ to bake them, I reused 4 disposable pie pans that I save for repurposing. Most of the squares went in the freezer as wedges. Most of pan 4 became last night’s dessert and breakfast today. Thank you!
    I have lots of apples to use and even more potatoes to use or deal with.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Jan,
    So glad you liked them! Hopefully the potatoes will last a long time in your basement… ?? :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  6. says

    Don’t feel badly about linking this recipe – this is actually the kind of recipe that a gluten-free cook likes to find – one with lots of moisture to help those drier, glutenless flours. :) And, any decent gluten-free cook could make her own subs and be golden.

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe and tips. (I save everything, too…no way we could eat everything I cook!!)

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. says

    Wow, yum! I too tend to be like that with my freezer. Of course, I sometimes forget about stuff too… Anyway, when I was little, we had a “grandma” (she wasn’t really our grandma, she was a friend of the family, but we “adopted” her) that made pear bars with the bunches of pears from her trees each fall. These bars remind me of them – yum! Thanks for linking up!
    .-= Alta´s last blog ..Make-Ahead (Gluten-Free) Turkey Gravy and Stuffing for Holiday Food Fest =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

  8. m says

    like you, i love me some apples-anytime, all the time. the healthy version looks awesome, but i’m wondering if there is a way to use fewer eggs (w/o an egg substitute).
    we already eat so many eggs and i would like to cut down on the fat and expense of good eggs.
    thanks for another great post.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    M,
    Those healthy fats in eggs are so so good for us, though, I can’t imagine cutting them unless I had an allergy. You can use a flax and water sub for eggs in many recipes. I think it’s 1Tbs ground flax to 1Tbs water, but I’m not sure! :) Kawtie

    [Reply to this comment]

  9. Sara says

    Hi Katie!

    I was wondering if one could use a pan instead of a cookie sheet? I only have access to REALLY nasty, crummy cookie sheets and would hate to have to grease them.
    What about a pyrex pan or aluminum pan of some sort? What would you change about the cooking time/over temp.?
    Any help is appreciated!!! Thank you!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Sara,
    I’m sure anything that would keep them about an inch high would work great, maybe 3 9×13 pans or so? Enjoy! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  10. Beth says

    Just made these this morning…wonderful! I’m pretty sure I’ve had these before w/ coconut added in!! I think I will be doing that next time. Maybe I’ll try reducing the sugar some and then adding in sweetened shredded coconut. The unsweeted stuff I have is very fine, I like a bigger shred in bars like these.

    [Reply to this comment]

  11. Allison says

    Whole wheat pastry flour and cranberries in place of apples were so very yummy for Thanksgiving breakfast. There will be a repeat this week with Christmas in mind. No more making a single recipe though. They disappear too quickly! Thank you.

    [Reply to this comment]

  12. Jayme says

    Do you HAVE to use white whole wheat flour? i dont have any on hand and would rather use the whole wheat flour that i have..

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Jayme,
    It’s worth a try -I guarantee the recipe works great 1/2 and 1/2 with white flour and whole wheat, but I’ve never tried it with 100% traditional whole wheat. Good luck! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  13. Melissa says

    Any suggestions for using a more natural sugar (honey or maple syrup) in this recipe? It looks great, but I am trying to cut out refined sugar in our diets. Thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Melissa,
    Here’s how to bake with honey with instructions for adapting any recipe, which should work fine w/this one – I bet maple syrup would add awesome depth and you could probably even cut it down even more, the apples are such a nice sweetness. I’d love to hear if you play around with the recipe as providing different options for readers is something important to me. Thanks! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Kim F. Reply:

    I used honey and whole wheat flour–great!!

    [Reply to this comment]

  14. Jessica Moore says

    I think I’m going to make these with 100% whole wheat pastry flour and replacing the sugar with succanat.
    Any chance you could give me an idea for how to soak the flour and nuts before I put in the rest of the ingredients? :)
    Thanks!
    Jessica

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Jessica,
    Here’s how to do the nuts: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/04/21/how-to-make-crispy-nuts-to-reduce-phytic-acid/

    But the flour would be tricky on this recipe. You’d have to try replacing some of the applesauce with water and yogurt, then soak the flour with that plus the oil overnight. Might be easier to use sprouted flour.

    Good luck! Let me know how 100% whole wheat and sucanat goes!
    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  15. Bev says

    Is that a square knife your son is using in the picture above? Where did you get it? At what age did you begin teaching him knife skills? I’d love any tips.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Bev,
    It’s a cheese slicer, believe it or not! I think I talk about teaching him skills in this post: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/04/22/kids-in-the-kitchen-potato-salad-with-help/

    We started between 24-30 months, and I always sd I wd start with my second child earlier like the Montessori system says (that you can start at 18 mos) but she was too “busy” to learn and I was too busy to slow down and teach her until around 2 or so. She loves using “her knife” now too! Careful, deliberate, small steps, mushy foods (start w/ a banana, or even start with spreading skills before cutting skills). It’s fun to work to empower your kids! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  16. Teresa says

    Love your site…found it while searching for pumpkin seed roasting tips…God gave me so much more than what I was looking for! Looking forward to all the treasures sprinkled throughout your site :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  17. Donna says

    Do I cook it off before freezing the batch? Then what temp do I reheat it at and how long?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Donna,
    Yes, you fully bake the bread, then cut and freeze. You won’t even need to reheat them, just thaw and eat. Yum! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  18. Rhonda says

    Have you ever tried this recipe with any gluten free flours?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Rhonda,
    I just haven’t made it since going gluten-free myself, but I’m thinking of trying it with almond flour, 1:1 substitution. We’ll see if it works next fall! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  19. Bethany says

    How long do you bake them (it’s not listed in your last step)? I realize doing them in a 13x9in pan will take a little longer, but I would love to know a general starting time to have in mind. Thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Stephanie Reply:

    25 minutes

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Bethany,
    I’m so sorry it took so long to answer – somehow that part of the recipe must not have survived the “reformatting” of all my recipes recently, and when I read your comment I was away from home and had no way to check my old recipe card. Phew!

    I did 25 minutes on a cookie sheet; any thicker would take 30.

    Enjoy! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  20. Stephanie says

    Ok, so I used cane sugar and the batter ended up being extremely thick so I baked the whole recipe in a 9×13. It came out like an awesome apple cake. I may try again and split the batter and see if they turn out more like bars. They do taste really good though!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Yum! They are pretty cakey, but awesome in a cookie sheet bc they feel more like breakfast if they’re thinner. ;)

    [Reply to this comment]

  21. Kim F. says

    Just wanted to say that I used Bob’s GF all-purpose flour, the flax seed/water egg replacer, and about 1 cup of honey. They turned out great!! Thanks! (They did have to bake a little longer though!!)

    [Reply to this comment]

  22. Jody says

    Katie, Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the Apple Squares. We just harvested soooo many apples and I needed something new to freeze made with the apples. Thanks! I did take a look at your website and liked it so much. I’ll visit again.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Jody,
    Glad you reminded me this recipe is here! Now I need to make some apple squares…we buy about 400 lbs of apples every fall! ;) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

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