Apple Bran Bars Recipe - Delicious and Nutritious Dessert

Apple Bran Bars

Apple Bran Bars Recipe - Delicious and Nutritious Dessert
Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 24


Apple Bran Bars
Apple Bran Bars

Apple Bran Bars offer a delightful blend of nutritious bran flakes, juicy golden delicious apples, and a hint of sweetness from molasses and sugar, all topped with a creamy orange-infused cream cheese frosting. This recipe is a perfect balance between indulgence and health, making it an excellent choice for breakfast, snacks, or even a light dessert. The combination of flavors and textures makes these bars a unique treat that's both satisfying and nutritious.


The concept of combining fruits with bran in baked goods has its roots in the health food movement that gained momentum in the early 20th century. However, this particular recipe, with its unique blend of apples, bran flakes, and a cream cheese frosting, is a more modern creation. It reflects the contemporary desire for recipes that are both delicious and offer some nutritional benefits. The addition of golden delicious apples, known for their sweet, mellow flavor, makes this recipe stand out.


Cream cheese frosting

How to prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Grease a 15- by 10-inch jelly roll pan.
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the shortening and sugar until light in texture, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and beat well.
  5. Add the molasses and milk, beating until well combined.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the flour, bran, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture, beating on low speed just until combined.
  8. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool in the pan.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting, if desired.
  11. Once the bar mixture has cooled, spread it with the cream cheese frosting, then cut into 24 bars and serve.

Cream cheese frosting

  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and softened butter or margarine.
  2. Add the grated orange peel and vanilla extract.
  3. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until smooth.


  • For a healthier version, substitute the vegetable shortening with unsweetened applesauce and use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. You can also add raisins or dried cranberries for extra sweetness and texture.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best texture and flavor, use fresh, ripe golden delicious apples. When mixing the batter, avoid overmixing once the flour is added to prevent the bars from becoming tough. For a smoother frosting, ensure that the cream cheese and margarine are at room temperature before beating them together. If the frosting is too thick, a tablespoon of milk can be added to reach the desired consistency.

Serving Suggestions

These bars are perfect as a standalone snack or breakfast item. They can also be served alongside a cup of tea or coffee for a mid-morning or afternoon snack. For a dessert option, pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is the creaming method used to mix the shortening and sugar, which incorporates air into the batter, resulting in a lighter texture. Baking at a moderate temperature ensures the bars are cooked through without becoming too dry.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have golden delicious apples, any sweet, firm apple variety will work. For a dairy-free version, use a dairy-free margarine and cream cheese substitute in the frosting. Honey or maple syrup can replace molasses for a different flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

The bars can be baked ahead of time and stored without the frosting in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Prepare and add the frosting just before serving to keep the bars fresh.

Presentation Ideas

For an attractive presentation, drizzle the frosting over the bars in a zigzag pattern instead of spreading it. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts or a thin apple slice.

Pairing Recommendations

Apple Bran Bars pair wonderfully with a glass of cold milk or a hot cup of coffee. For a wine pairing, choose a light, sweet white wine such as Riesling or Moscato.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If frosted, store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. These bars do not require reheating, but if desired, they can be warmed slightly in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Apple Bran Bars contains approximately 200 calories. The calories are derived from a combination of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, with the majority coming from carbohydrates.


Each serving of Apple Bran Bars contains approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates come from a mix of simple sugars in the sugar and molasses, and complex carbohydrates in the flour and bran flakes. The apples also contribute natural sugars and dietary fiber.


The bars contain about 10 grams of fat per serving, primarily from the vegetable shortening and walnuts. The cream cheese frosting adds additional fats, both saturated and unsaturated, from the cream cheese and margarine.


Each bar provides around 3 grams of protein, sourced from the egg, milk, and a small amount from the flour and bran flakes. The cream cheese frosting also contributes a minimal amount of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

These bars are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, particularly from the bran flakes and apples. They provide B vitamins, vitamin C from the apples, and minerals like iron and potassium. The cream cheese frosting adds a small amount of calcium.


This recipe contains common allergens such as wheat (gluten), eggs, dairy (in the frosting), and nuts (walnuts). Individuals with allergies to these ingredients should avoid this recipe or find suitable substitutions.


Overall, Apple Bran Bars offer a balanced mix of nutrients, making them a healthier option for a sweet treat. They provide energy from carbohydrates, essential fatty acids from fats, and a modest amount of protein, along with vitamins and minerals from the fruits and bran.


Apple Bran Bars are a delightful treat that combines the health benefits of bran and apples with the indulgence of a sweet, creamy frosting. This recipe is versatile, allowing for various substitutions and variations to suit different dietary needs and preferences. Whether enjoyed as a snack, breakfast, or dessert, these bars are sure to satisfy both your sweet tooth and your nutritional needs.

How did I get this recipe?

I distinctly remember the first time I saw this recipe for Apple Bran Bars. It was a warm summer day and I was visiting my dear friend Martha, who was known for her delicious baked goods. As soon as I walked into her kitchen, I was overwhelmed by the sweet aroma of apples and cinnamon.

Martha greeted me with a warm smile and a plate of freshly baked Apple Bran Bars. The bars were perfectly golden brown and had a crispy, crumbly texture. As soon as I took a bite, I knew I had to learn how to make them myself.

I asked Martha for the recipe, and she gladly shared it with me. She explained that she had learned to make the bars from her own grandmother, who had passed down the recipe through generations. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn such a cherished recipe from a dear friend.

Martha and I spent the rest of the afternoon baking together, mixing the ingredients and filling her kitchen with the heavenly scent of apples and cinnamon. As we worked, Martha shared stories of her grandmother and the memories they had shared baking together. I felt honored to be a part of this tradition and to learn a recipe that held so much history and love.

After the bars had cooled, Martha and I sat down to enjoy them with a cup of tea. The bars were even more delicious than I remembered, with a perfect balance of sweetness and spice. I knew that this recipe would become a staple in my own kitchen, a reminder of the special bond I shared with Martha and her family.

Over the years, I have made these Apple Bran Bars countless times, each batch bringing back memories of that summer day with Martha. I have shared the recipe with friends and family, passing on the tradition that Martha had shared with me. I have tweaked the recipe here and there, adding my own personal touch, but the basic ingredients and method have remained the same.

Every time I make these bars, I am reminded of the power of food to bring people together and create lasting memories. The simple act of baking a batch of Apple Bran Bars has become a way for me to connect with my past and honor the traditions that have shaped me. And every time I take a bite of these delicious bars, I am reminded of the sweet friendship I share with Martha and the love that went into creating this recipe.

I am grateful for the gift of learning this recipe and for the memories it has given me. The Apple Bran Bars will always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of the power of food to bring joy and connection to our lives. And I hope that one day, I will be able to pass down this recipe to my own loved ones, creating new memories and traditions for generations to come.


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