Pumpkin Spice Cheerios plus plenty of apples make sweet perfect-for-fall bars! Or, use Apple-Cinnamon or Maple Cheerios for a delightful and just as tasty twist!
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There are a lot of funny memes and videos that mock the annual pumpkin spice craze.
But hey, come October we’ve all just spent the summer roasting in the sun while gadding about wearing next to nothing. It’s a relief to cover up in leggings and sweaters, close up the swimming pools, buy pots of Mums in hues of rust and gold for the front steps, and yes…
enjoy a little pumpkin spice!
Though apples are abundant in fall, picked fresh by you (or by the orchard, if you’re in a hurry) apples at any time of the year are delicious paired with this delectable spice blend.
These bars feature pumpkin spice in the form of Pumpkin Spice flavored Cheerios, a flavor that makes an annual appearance just as we are beginning to crave it.
I’m surprised the Cheerios folks haven’t tried this combination before!
When the cereal is opened a wonderfully fragrant burst of pumpkin-spiced-ness permeates the air. All on its own the cereal is quite tasty.
And in this recipe 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 apple cider or Boiled Cider
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups Cheerios cereal, divided (I used Pumpkin Spice flavor here, but Apple-Cinnamon, Maple, or Frosted would also be tasty in these apple bars!)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour unbleached
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted, 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.
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Originally published in October 2016