Apple Butter Swirled Yogurt Bars

Surprisingly healthy yet decadence thick, creamy, and tangy Yogurt Bars are generously swirled with luscious Homemade Apple Butter and baked on a gluten-free Oat Pecan Shortbread Crust, making a delicious breakfast, snack, or dessert!

Featuring a crisp, buttery, and nutty gluten-free oat pecan shortbread-style crust, a smooth and silky protein-rich creamy filling, and a touch of cozy-spiced apple butter, there’s so much to love about these healthy-ish cheesecake-like bars.

While they do look rather fancy, this recipe couldn’t be simpler to make. I love making a new version almost every season, like a key lime and mango combo in the summer or lemon and strawberry puree in late spring. Both the crust and the filling come together effortlessly in a single bowl, making these bars a quick and easy treat to prepare.

For optimal freshness, store the bars in the fridge and enjoy them within 2-3 days. The crust may soften over time, but the bars remain delicious. These bars also freeze well for up to 2-3 months, provided you store them pre-cut and individually wrapped. When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply defrost them in the fridge for a few hours.

Apple Butter Swirled Yogurt Bars Ingredients

For the Apple Butter:

  • Apples – Any variety works; keep the skins on for added flavor and nutrition, or peel for a different texture
  • Apple Cider – Intensifies apple flavor and creates a simmering liquid for flavors to meld
  • Honey – A sweet floral liquid that pairs well; maple syrup is a delightful alternative
  • Brown Sugar – Optional, but adds a hint of molasses for extra coziness in the flavors
  • Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom create a harmonious blend; customize to your liking
  • Salt – Brings all flavors to life

For the Oatmeal Cookie Crust:

  • Oat Flour – Easily made at home for a cost-effective option
  • Pecans – Add a delightful sweet, nutty crunch, pairing wonderfully with apple spice nutty flavors
  • Dark Brown Sugar – Deepens cozy flavors with a hint of molasses
  • Softened Butter (or melted coconut oil for a dairy-free option, use refined coconut oil for a neutral flavor)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Salt – Enhances all the flavors

For the Yogurt Filling:

  • Eggs – Provide structure and a firm texture
  • Mascarpone – Enhances thickness without overpowering tang
  • Whole Milk Greek Yogurt – Choose plain for the creamiest bars
  • Sugar (or real 100% maple syrup for a distinct flavor)
  • Vanilla – Elevates the dessert’s rich flavors
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Apple Butter Swirled Yogurt Bars


Ingredients

Units Scale

Apple Butter

  • 4 lb apples, cubed
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/41/2 cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want the apple butter)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Oatmeal Shortbread Crust

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 13/4 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

Yogurt Filling

  • 250g mascarpone
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (ideally 5%)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Apple Butter

  1. In a large pot, combine cubed apples, apple cider, honey (or maple syrup), brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt.
  2. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples are incredibly tender and soft. This usually takes 2-3 hours.
  3. Allow it to cool slightly before adding everything to a blender or food processor to blend on high for a few minutes until a completely smooth apple butter is formed. Pour into a container and store in the fridge for up to a month.

For the Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, cream together brown sugar, softened butter, and vanilla extract.
  3. Add oat flour, chopped pecans, and salt. Mix until the dough comes together.
  4. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, creating an even crust.
  5. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the edges puff and there’s a slight golden color on the edges. Allow the crust to cool while you make the filling

For the Yogurt Filling

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine mascarpone, Greek yogurt, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and well combined.

Assembly and Baking

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. Pour the yogurt filling over the crust and spread out evenly.
  3. Dollop apple butter on top of the yogurt filling and use a knife to create swirls.
  4. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until the batter is set except for the slightest jiggle in the center.
  5. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.
  6. Slice in squares and enjoy!

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