These Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars are easy, chewy bars with fresh apples and cinnamon chips.
I’m going to start with a word of warning that this is a long post with a ton of recap from the International Food Bloggers Conference! It was a spectacular and exciting weekend, to say the least. Let’s start at the beginning: my weekend started bright and early on Thursday morning at 7:30 AM at the Krusteaz Headquarters.
As a member of the Krusteaz Baker’s Dozen, they invited me to come to their headquarters here in Seattle to shoot some hack videos. I said yes a few months back, before I would let myself freak out over being on camera and chicken out. I was beyond nervous going into it. To ensure I was well rested and didn’t have any under eye circles on camera, I went to sleep at 9:30pm the night before, which also happened to be my 22nd birthday. Wild and crazy birthday, yeah?
Once I got to the studio, the whole team was around introducing themselves, helping me out, and reassuring me that their goal was the same as mine: make me look good on camera! It was beyond relieving to have such an informed, supportive, and knowledgable crew, and it was so interesting to see the food stylist overfilling bowls of chocolate hazelnut spread so they looked best on camera and all the test kitchen workers running around, ripping open muffins to make sure they were gooey enough inside.
I ended up shooting two videos within a couple of hours and it ended up being pretty fun! I’m so excited to see how the videos turn out and I will most definitely share them here once they’re up. Later on Thursday night, the rest of the Baker’s Dozen as well as a few team members from both Krusteaz and 360PR went to a delicious dinner at Purple Cafe in Downtown Seattle. The food was incredible and it was so amazing to sit beside and chat with such lovely, inspiring ladies.
Friday started at 8:15 as the Baker’s Dozen went down to the Krusteaz headquarters, where I had been filming the day before. The former production room was turned back into a conference room, and the studio where I had been filming transformed into a classroom style kitchen.
To begin the day, we were given a history of the company. Did you know they were founded in 1932 by a women’s bridge club? The first product was a “just-add-water” pie crust, hence the name “crust-ease”. Check out the original packaging (and some other packaging over the years) in the photo above from HQ! Their values so align with how I feel about baking, which is that you can enhance other’s lives through the power of food and baking is a way to show someone that you care.
After that, we had such a fun project, led by Malia, a Culinary Specialist at Krusteaz. She was the sweetest and expert in all things cookies! Because it was almost lunch time, we split up into four groups and were each assigned a course for lunch. The salad team had to use Krusteaz’s cornbread. The appetizer team used their Pie Crust Mix. The entree team (my team) used the Italian Herb Flatbread Mix. The dessert team used their Cobbler and Crisp Toppings. It was so fun to get to brainstorm recipes and cook in the kitchen with fellow food bloggers, and see everyone’s culinary chops!
Let me say: that lunch was amazingly delicious. The salad team made two salads, one mediterranean style and one more southwestern using the cornbread as croutons. The appetizer team made these incredible Veggie Cheese Pies! That crust is so flaky and SO easy. My team made four different kinds of flatbreads: chicken Alfredo with spinach and tomatoes, barbecue chicken, veggie pesto with fresh mozzarella, and a meat lovers with mushrooms and peppers. The dessert team made an incredible apple maple cobbler and berry chocolate chip crisp, served with whipped cream. So much creativity and such incredible kitchen skills in the group!
After lunch, Todd Coleman came to give us a mobile photography lesson. It was so insightful to hear his tips, learned from his years of incredible experience as the Saveur executive food editor and other impressive resume builders. Top tips:
1) Use clothespins to stabilize your phone while you take a picture! (pictured above)
2) Focus on something by pressing on the square on your phone (iPhone only) and adjust exposure by dragging the small sun up or down.
3) Connect the headphones that come with your iPhone and press the + button to take a photo.
All of these tips will help you take a super crisp, clear photo with your iPhone – you’ll be amazed at what a phone can do! Todd’s Instagram is all taken on iPhone. Prepare to be amazed.
Check out me putting my Todd Coleman inspired skills to use ^^
After the photography session, we headed back to the hotel to rest before the night’s opening reception and gifting suite. The night was super fun with great food from so many sponsors and Seattle restaurants. I was exhausted that night, but so happy when I went back to my room to find a cookie and milk from Krusteaz. Best end of the night gift!
Saturday was the first full day of the conference. I helped Krusteaz host a craft + cookie swap during one of the breakout sessions and had an amazing time meeting some other super sweet bloggers who came to hang out and eat cookies.
The rest of the day was full of inspiring speakers and information on everything revolving around food and blogging – I could go on for hours about how amazing it was to hear from Andie Mitchell, Jenn Elliot Blake, Aran Goyoaga, Kim Severson, and the other awe-inspiring speakers. Later that night was a wine reception and culinary fair and expo. Oh my goodness, you guys, the FOOD. If you follow me on Snapchat (add me! bakeritablog) and were following along with my experience, you may have been jealous. I had rockfish on kale Caesar salad and chicken and waffles from Skillet. I had short rib mole with sweet potato and burrata with beets, strawberries, basil, pistachio & maple from Six Seven. I had three delicious little bites of goodness from Loulay, and I wish I could tell you what they were, but I just don’t remember! I also got a selfie with “The Chef In The Hat” Thierry Rautureau. There were drinks and food and desserts and soups everywhere. It was foodie heaven!
After the food coma post culinary fair, I slept well to enjoy the last day of the conference. The final day had more fantastic speakers, inspiring words, and new friends. It was an exhausting, exhilarating, and inspiring weekend, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have experienced such an incredible event with so many fantastic people. To those of you I met, it was incredible to meet you, and for those of you I missed, I wish we could’ve connected.
I got home around 1pm, and felt inspired to bake and invigorated to blog, but also tired. I stared into my pantry and naturally, grabbed a box of Krusteaz Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies. I had them for the first time at the cookie swap and swooned. I whipped them up, adding cinnamon and diced apples and cinnamon chips. I pressed the batter into a lined 9×13″ pan and inhaled as the smell wafted around my apartment, making it truly smell like fall.
I let these Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars get golden brown on the edges, and baked just enough in the middle to stay chewy and soft. The apples add some moisture, so I must say, you’d probably have a hard time over-baking these. They’re everything you want in a fall cookie bar, and they’re super easy to make – they’re into the oven within 5 minutes! Enjoy.
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13" baking pan with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cookie mix, cinnamon, unsalted butter, and egg. Once combined, add the apple chunks and cinnamon chips. Press the batter into the pan evenly.
- Bake for 18-21 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Cool completely before cutting. Store cooled cookie bars in airtight container.
If you want thicker cookie bars, use an 8x8" or 9x9" pan and cook for a few minutes longer.
Krusteaz sent me to the International Food Bloggers Conference as a brand representative and member of the Baker’s Dozen. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Bakerita! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own :)