Take advantage of limited edition Pumpkin Spice Cheerios and whip up these sweet perfect-for-fall bars!
There are a lot of funny memes and videos out right now mocking the annual pumpkin spice craze.
But hey, we’ve all just spend the summer roasting in the sun, enjoying fruity drinks and desserts vibrant with lemon, watermelon and berries, devouring fresh and crisp veggies from the garden, and all while gadding about wearing next to nothing.
And now it’s fall: time for leggings and sweaters, closing up the swimming pools, putting rust and golden-hued mums on the front steps, and yes…
it’s time for pumpkin spice too.
Also abundant now are apples, picked fresh by you (or the orchard if you’re in a hurry) and ready to be paired with this delectable spice blend!
These bars feature pumpkin spice in the form of Pumpkin Spice flavored Cheerios, a limited edition flavor that is available now.
I’m surprised the Cheerios folks haven’t tried this combination before!
When the cereal is opened a wonderfully fragrant burst of pumpkin-spicedness permeates the air. All on its own the cereal is quite tasty.
And in this recipe the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios create a flavorful, crunchy base and topping for a thick, cooked apple spread.
These bars are a sweet, rich treat perfect for after dinner or mid-afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea!
Pumpkin Spice Cheerios & Apple Bars
- 6-7 medium-sized apples
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Boiled Cider or water
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups Pumpkin Spice flavor Cheerios cereal, divided*
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Peel and core the apples, then cut them into chunks.
In a large saucepan, combine the chopped apples with 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, boiled cider (or water,) nutmeg, ground cloves and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 13 minutes: the apples will be soft and the mixture should also be thickened. Remove the pan from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8" x 8" baking dish with parchment paper and spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine 2-1/2 cups of the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar, the baking soda and salt. Add in the melted butter and mix until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture.
Press the remaining 2 cups of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 23 minutes until the crust has browned. Remove the pan from the oven.
Spread the apple mixture over the top of the crust, to within a 1/2" of the edges. Sprinkle the remaining Cheerios-butter mixture over the apple layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of dry Pumpkin Spice Cheerios over the apple layer as well. Return the pan to oven and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until it is lightly browned. Remove from oven and place pan on a cooling rack. Once cooled lift it by the paper out of the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into 9 bars.
*If Pumpkin Spice flavor Cheerios are not available in your area, use 2-1/2 cups of regular Cheerios and add in 3/4 teaspoon of pumpkin spice blend, available in the spice aisle at the store.