Oatmeal bars are a perfect way to use what in your pantry. They are an easy dessert recipe and our apple butter filling makes them the perfect sweet and savory treat. If you don't have apple butter in your pantry, there are many other common spreads you can use (see the list below.)
These dessert bars can be made in just 45 minutes and you probably already have all the ingredients just sitting in your pantry, waiting to be used.
As a bonus, they can easily be turned into a make-ahead recipe as they freeze well for up to two months. Read on and we'll show you exactly how to do all of this.
A day or so ago we had a childless afternoon in our house, hence I returned home to an unusually quiet home on an unusually frigid day.
Using the oven to take the chill out of a cold day is always a great excuse to bake a yummy dessert. We do this often with things like Danish kringle, open-face apple pie, and of course our family favorite of shoofly pie!
The outside temperature never made it above 15 degrees below zero throughout the day and so I decided to use the magical heat of an oven ready to bake.
The kitchen began the transformation to a warm and cozy haven and this is how a new recipe came into the world.
How to make these
Start by preheating your oven to 350° and then gather all of the ingredients listed above.
Next, assemble the shortlist of kitchen tools and equipment for this recipe:
- A mixing bowl
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- A 9" x 9" baking pan
- Start by placing 2 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal in a medium-size mixing bowl.
- Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
- Measure and add ¾ cup of granulated sugar.
- Then add ¼ cup of brown sugar.
- Add the salt and cinnamon and mix it all together.
- Then, add and stir in the softened butter.
- Transfer the half of the mixture to a greased 9" x 9" baking pan.
- Reserve the remaining crumbs to use as a topping.
Use the bottom of a drinking glass to firmly pack the base in the pan.
Next, add the magical ingredient: Apple Butter!
Then pat firmly before baking for 30 minutes.
Be sure and try this oatmeal bar cookie recipe; I know you're going to love it!
Common recipe questions
These can be stored at room temperature for up to two days, in a sealed container. Otherwise, they will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.
If you don't have apple butter, you can use things like:
- Fig preserves
- Apricot preserves
- Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (Nutella)
- Pumpkin butter
- Ripe Bananas
- Jelly (Grape, Apple, or Strawberry)
Can this dessert be frozen?
You can make these oatmeal bars ahead of time and freeze for up to two months. Here is the best way to enjoy them as a make-ahead dessert:
1. Bake and Freeze Method
- Prepare as directed and allow to completely cool.
- Cut portions as desired.
- Using a flat surface like a cookie sheet, platter, or large plate, line the bottom with plastic kitchen wrap and leave plenty of extra wrap to cover the top of the bars.
- Double-wrap the bars, making sure there are no air pockets between them and the plastic wrap.
- Place a date label on the outside (to remind you of when you made them), and place in your freezer.
- Remove from freezer 6 to 12 hours before serving to allow them to thaw at room temperature.
2. Freeze and Bake Method
- Prepare as directed but do not bake.
- Wrap the entire baking dish, with the unbaked bars, in plastic kitchen wrap. Press down lightly on the wrap to make sure you get out any air pockets. Wrap in a second layer and place the dish in the freezer.
- Allow thawing in the refrigerator 12 hours before ready to bake and serve.
- Bake as directed.
This easy recipe for oatmeal bars is perfect for the holidays, or any time of the year. If you're looking for another year-round dessert recipe, be sure and try our forgotten cookies!
Other recipes that use apple butter
(Be sure and check out our own recipe for Crock-Pot Apple Butter.)
- Apple Butter Dredged Pork Cutlets
- Apple Butter Meatloaf
- Raisin Apple Butter Bread
- Scottish Tea Cookes with Apple Butter
- Herb Pork Pinwheels with Apple Butter and Chevre
- Apple Butter Muffins
- Sage and Apple Butter Gnocchi
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Homemade Oatmeal Bars with Apple Butter
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon.
- Add butter and stir until creamy.
- Pat half of the mixture into baking pan.
- Spread apple butter evenly over crumb layer.
- Sprinkle remaining crumbs over apple butter and press down gently.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden.
- Transfer pan to wire rack and cool completely.
- If you don't have apple butter, consider substituting any of the following:
- Pumpkin Butter
- Fig Preserves
- Apricot Preserves
- Chocolate and Hazelnut Spread (like Nutella)
- Grape, Apple, or Strawberry Jelly
- Ripe Bananas