A cross between a coffeecake and a bar cookie, these Caramel-Apple Pecan Bars are 100% whole grain and lightened by using Greek yogurt to replace some of the butter. They’re a family favorite and would be perfect for healthy back to school snacks or fall tailgating tables.
~by Regan Jones, RD
If you're about to head out on your last summer vacation or contemplating what to do for the last few weeks before school start, may I share with you what I'm doing tomorrow?
Sending this little guy to Kindergarten and struggling to find the Slow Down Button on life.
I talked about how fast life was going earlier this summer. And the previous few weeks haven't given us much pause. Those who know me well know that I've been anticipating this day for years. Being a working mom/entrepreneur, I've admittedly struggled to feel balanced in my work days (and nights) since my second son (pictured above) was born.
It's ironic. That feeling of wanting to slow down life, but also recognizing that you just might be in a better place in the future, at least in terms of work-life balance.
Mom guilt is so tangible. I know very few women who don't feel it in some area of their lives. For me, it usually involves feeling like I work too much when my kids are home. While I'm proud of what I and my husband are able to provide for them now and for their futures, I know that there are moments I miss by working so much. I'm also proud of what I'm showing them about what you can do when you chase a dream and work hard for it. But I worry about what message I send when they're waiting for me to finish up my work and spend time with them.
I guess my aspiration for my family is that a full day of school for both of my boys will leave me enough time to work a (semi) normal day and most importantly, turn off work at least in the afternoons and evenings to be present with my kids. I doubt that my 4:30am wake-ups will ever stop. There's something about the still of the morning that allows me a space to focus and prep for the day ahead. Truthfully, I crave it.
But I also crave a chance to attend a school party, stop by the park on the way home from school or in my most Martha Stewart throwback idioltry, serve up a plate of homemade goodies with a glass of milk in the afternoon.
Personal goals have to be realistic just like professional goals. I get that. So I'm pointing to these easy bar cookies as first up to have on hand for my boys now that school is starting. I don't expect perfection in the school year to come. But I do hope to create a little bit more time for cookie eating and a little less time saying "let mommy finish her work and then I will...."
Whole Grain Caramel-Apple Pecan Bars
Makes 12 bars
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup sugar or bake-able sugar substitute (such as Swerve)
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour (if substituting gluten-free flour add 1 tablespoon flax-meal to flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups sliced, dried apples, chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans halves, chopped
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8- x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cream butter and Greek-style yogurt in a large mixing bowl; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add eggs, and beat well. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a small mixing bowl; gradually add to creamed mixture, stirring well. Stir in apples.
- Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Top with pecans. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of bars comes out clean. Let cool. Drizzle with caramel and cut into bars.