Brown Sugar Zucchini Crumble Bars – Improv Challenge

Brown Sugar Zucchini Crumble Bars |

I had the great pleasure to interview Gayle of for a story on lentils that I did for an upcoming issue of Relish magazine. Right now is an especially fun time to check out the interesting farm blog because it’s the pinnacle of the season; it’s the time Gayle and her husband and their family of fifth-generation farmers have worked and sweated and prepared for all year…it’s lentil, wheat and garbanzo bean harvest season. (She even has videos of harvest!) And despite the fact that Gayle is presently crazy busy being a lentil ambassador to local media for the Dinner on the Farm, she still has time to post decadent desserts like these Zucchini Cobbler Bars, which I adapted quite a bit into my Brown Sugar Zucchini Crumble Bars.

This month’s Improv Challenge (a creative monthly recipe challenge created by Kristen @ Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker) paired zucchini and brown sugar. It was a fun little challenge to adapt this recipe to include apples in addition to zucchini, a few different spices, less sugar, less fat and more whole grains.

Brown Sugar Zucchini Crumble Bars |

I served these “Apple Pie Dessert Bars” to a large group of (unsuspecting) college students from church – when they asked for seconds, I told them they also had zucchini – and they still reached for another. When I make them again, I may add even more fruit (with accompanying sweetness) as the filling cooked down quite a bit this time – and I love an especially gooey, gloppy bar dripping with fruit!

Brown Sugar Zucchini Crumble Bars – Improv Challenge

Makes About 20 servings depending on portion size


  • 4 cups chopped seeded, peeled zucchini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • Homemade or prepared peanut caramel sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 7x11-inch baking dish.
  2. Combine the zucchini and lemon juice in a medium pan and cook over medium-high heat
  3. until the zucchini is soft, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. and nutmeg; cook an additional minute then remove from heat.
  5. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1 cup sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry cutter or
  6. a fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  7. Mix 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture into the zucchini mixture. Press half of the remaining
  8. crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the zucchini mixture on top of
  9. the crust, then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly on top.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Never miss another recipe or giveaway!
Sign up to get Teaspoon of Spice posts by email.



  1. ack! Look at all that caramel sauce! I like how you “hid” the zukes by peeling & seeding them. (Poor, unsuspecting college folk…) :)

  2. I almost did something similar, but then went in another direction. I do still want to try this sometime though. Your version looks really good!

  3. They look incredible. I’m a sucker for caramel sauce.

  4. We were apparently on the same wave length for this challenge! Love the caramel sauce.

  5. Your bars look delicious and what a wonderful way to sneak zucchini into those poor students.

    Cook Lisa Cook
    Zucchini with Onions & Brown Sugar.

  6. This is a great way to sneak some more vegetables into my kids’ diets. Love the caramel on top, too. What a super dessert.

  7. Wow, there would be more zucchini lovers in the world if this was their first introduction to the veggie! Fabulous bars!

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing