Oatmeal Crumb Bars with Wine Poached Applesauce

I screwed up. I was poaching apples in wine for a tart and I overcooked them, so they started to fall apart. Rather than freak out (okay, I still freaked out), I decided to repurpose them and made the tastiest fancy applesauce instead. And when I have applesauce in the house, I automatically reach for my mom’s oatmeal crumb bar recipe. It was one of the first things I learned how to make as a kid, because it is super simple and requires the most basic ingredients. I made a few adjustments by adding cinnamon and vanilla to enhance the flavor a bit, but the rest of it is the same. I can promise you, my mom never poached the apples in wine beforehand, so any type of applesauce will be tasty, but I included my accidental recipe in case you want to step it up a notch. The applesauce recipe will make more than you need, approximately 3 cups or so but that means, darn! You’ll just have to snack on the rest while the bars are cooling.

Makes 12 servings


Wine Poached Applesauce:

  • 2 cups (497 grams) red wine
  • 2 cups (473 grams) water
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • 2 strips of lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 medium sweet but firm apples, such as Gala, peeled, halved and cored

Oatmeal Crumb Bars:

  • 16 tablespoons (454 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (216 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (180 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups (500 grams) applesauce, homemade or store bought


Make the Applesauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the applesauce ingredients except the apples and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  1. Add the apples and reduce the heat to a medium-low simmer, cooking the apples and occasionally turning them in the wine mixture until the apples are soft and begin to fall apart, approximately 30 minutes.
  1. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, remove the apples from the liquid into a separate bowl and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. The applesauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Make the Oatmeal Crumb Bars:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  1. In a mixing bowl for an electric mixer or a medium mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing to combine.
  1. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Add to the butter mixture, beating on low until just combined. Mixture will and should be lumpy.
  1. Pat two thirds of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, and then evenly spread the applesauce over the top.
  1. Sprinkle the remaining mixture in pieces over the top and then bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool fully in pan before removing and cutting into bars. These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


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AnnMarie Mattila
AnnMarie Mattilahttps://pastryathome.com
AnnMarie Mattila is a writer for Pastry Arts Magazine, as well as a freelance baker and pastry chef in New York. She has a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University and is also a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education.

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