Gluten-Free Vegan Caramelized Apple Nut Squares {also Paleo}

Gluten-Free Vegan Caramelized Apple Nut Squares {also Paleo & Refined Sugar-Free}

{Gluten-Free, Vegan, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

So following the popularity of these Gluten-Free Vegan Raspberry Almond Squares I’ve decided to share another “husband favorite” — Gluten-Free Vegan Caramelized Apple Nut Squares. Seems like you guys like his favorite desserts better than mine — should I be jealous? Just kidding. Getting his approval on desserts means a lot to me. He’s really not a desserts guy, let alone a gluten-free, vegan, or paleo desserts guy, so if he actually likes something it typically means it’s “picky eater approved.”

Anyhow, I digress. Back to these caramelized apple nut squares. They’re super yummy and I’m proud to say fairly healthy and nutritious too. My friend (who by the way managed to eat like 80% of the squares this weekend, leaving just a couple to my husband :) ) actually calls them “apple squirrels” since they are mainly made out of almonds, apples, some liquid sweetener, and some coconut oil. These squares are super filling, sweet, and delicious, and very easy to make. They make a wonderful breakfast treat, lunch snack, or a healthful after-dinner dessert. I hope you like them!

Gluten-Free Vegan Caramelized Apple Nut Squares {also Paleo & Refined Sugar-Free}

Gluten-Free Vegan Caramelized Apple Nut Squares Recipe:

Base Ingredients:

1 tbsp ground flax seeds
3 tbsp very warm water

2 1/2 cups almonds
1/3 cup liquid sweetener of your choice (I used maple syrup)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted or very soft
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Apple Topping Ingredients:

1-2 apples, sliced
2 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced almonds


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 baking dish (or anything of a similar size) with some parchment paper.

1. Make a flax egg by mixing the ground flax in warm water in a small cup. Stir and set aside to gel for a few minutes.

2. Process almonds in a food processor until ground just slightly coarser than almond flour (you basically want a crumbly nut mixture; don’t over-process into a nut butter). Add in all remaining base ingredients (including flax egg) and process until everything is combined.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 22 minutes until the base becomes slightly golden and springs back when touched lightly.

4. While the base is baking, prepare the caramelized apple topping by melting coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add in liquid sweetener and mix with the coconut oil to combine. Add in sliced apples and cinnamon and fry, stirring very frequently (continuously towards the end), for about 10-12 minutes until most of the liquids are absorbed. Add in sliced almonds in the last minute or two of caramelizing the apples. Remove from heat and set aside for a moment.

4. Once the base is baked (after the initial 22 minutes), remove the baking dish from the oven (keep oven running though). Spread the caramelized apple topping evenly over the top. Return back to oven and bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cool, cut into squares and enjoy. I like these warm personally, but my husband likes chilled desserts better, so if you’re that kind of person then just refrigerate for an hour or two to chill.

Gluten-Free Vegan Caramelized Apple Nut Squares {also Paleo & Refined Sugar-Free}

Happy baking!

xo Audrey

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7 Responses to Gluten-Free Vegan Caramelized Apple Nut Squares {also Paleo}

  1. Stephanie March 18, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    This looks yummy! Do you think this recipe will work with sugar instead of maple syrup?

    • Audrey March 18, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      Hi Stephanie. I’ve made the apples with brown sugar before and they were really good — you’ll just need to use more coconut oil (or some non-dairy butter) to add a bit more liquid to the mixture for frying. I haven’t tried making the base with sugar, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I’d give it a try :)

      • Stephanie March 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

        Great! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

        • Audrey March 20, 2014 at 11:33 am #

          Yeah, I’d love to hear how it goes.


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