Tart apples dipped in peanut butter have always been one of my favorite snacks. These peanut butter apple bars are an ode to my childhood favorite granola bars and my never-ending craving for apples and PB!
Make the bars: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the center. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper, then spray the parchment.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet and then pour into a medium heatproof bowl, reserving about 1 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet. Add the apples and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar to the skillet, toss and cook over medium heat until the apples are softened and slightly shrunken and most of the juice has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.
While the apples cook, whisk together the oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
In the medium heatproof bowl, stir the brown sugar, remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar, peanut butter and vanilla into the melted butter. Add the egg and mix well to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing well, and then stir in the cooked apples and apple chips. The dough will be stiff.
Spread the dough into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until evenly deep golden brown and the center feels firm to the touch. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.
Finish the bars: Remove the cooled bar from the pan. Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave in a small microwaveable bowl in 8 second increments, stirring well after each until melted, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a sandwich bag, snip off a small opening at the tip and drizzle the white chocolate over the surface of the baked bar. Sprinkle with the apple chip pieces. Cut in half and then cut each half into 6 bars. Store covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.