Granny Smith Harvest Bars
Granny Smith harvest bars combine the tartness of apples with the nuttiness of walnuts and the warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg to make the perfect dessert or breakfast bar.

Even though it seems to be billed as a fall fruit, I love a good apple all year round.

In a lively discussion about favorite fruits this past week, I decided apples hold the number one spot for me right now, and if I’m eating one on its own, I like a sweet, red one.

Someone else in the conversation noted they liked to bite into a Granny Smith, and all I could do was shudder while thinking about how tart they are. Granny Smiths are only baking apples in my book, although I’m sure plenty of folks like to eat them raw, too.

But I do absolutely love Granny Smith apples in all kinds of desserts. They have this bright, tart flavor that is just perfect alongside sugar and spices.

They didn’t disappoint me in this week’s recipe for some amazing apple bars, too, and once the temperatures cool down a bit and you start to feel ready to heat up your oven, you should put this recipe on your short list to try.

This comes from the blog “Sweet Ordeal.” You can find the original post at I doubled the vanilla and spices in my version below, and I swapped in walnuts instead of pecans.

Granny Smith Harvest Bars

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword: brown sugar, cinnamon, Granny Smith apples, nutmeg, quick oats, vanilla, walnuts


Bar Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cups Granny Smith apples peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. Set it aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is smooth. Beat in the sugar and continue mixing on high until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Beat in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg until everything is just combined.
  • Fold in the diced apples and walnuts by hand.
  • Spread the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • While the bars cook, prepare the topping.
  • Begin by lightly toasting the walnuts for several minutes in a dry skillet over medium heat. Just let them get slightly browned and warmed through to really release some of the yummy oil in the nuts.
  • Then combine all of the topping ingredients in a bowl, mixing well.
  • When the bars come out of the oven, spoon the topping mixture evenly over the top, and bake for another five minutes.
  • Let the bars cool completely before cutting and serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

These were nutty and sweet and full of delicious spice flavor. I was a little nervous my bars were a bit overcooked when I first pulled them from the oven, but I trusted the process, and they were absolutely perfect.

I think over half of the pan was devoured at the office with only a few people present, so needless to say, they were a big hit.

Despite my recent fruit debate, I think I’m sticking with red apples for my favorite everyday snack for the time being. Granny Smiths will always have a place on my beloved list—just in a slightly different category.

This piece first appeared in print on June 27, 2024.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.