Applesauce Spice Bars

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I was so happy this weekend... I had time to cook and bake! For fun!

I've made somewhat of a Dorie Greenspan "pact" with a group of internet friends. Every couple of weeks, someone picks a recipe out of Baking: From My Home to Yours, and we all make it and share our results. It's fun because everyone makes little changes to the recipe based on their likes/dislikes, what they had in their pantry, etc.

This time, the choice was Dorie's Applesauce Spice Bars, and I couldn't have been happier. Perfect time of year to make something like this, and with such awesome ingredients, it was difficult to see how this recipe could possibly go wrong.

And, as expected... it didn't. These were wonderful! (And pretty easy when it comes to Dorie.)

Applesauce Spice Bars

(Recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan)

For the Bars:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. applejack, brandy, or dark rum (optional) -- I did not use
1 baking apple, such as Rome or Cortland, peeled, cored and finely diced or chopped (I used Newcrisp apples--and used probably 1 & 1/2 apples)
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden) -- I omitted
1/2 cup chopped pecans -- I substituted unsalted peanuts

For the Glaze:
2 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9" x 13" baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust the inside of the pan with flour. Tap out the excess flour and put the pan on a baking sheet. (I skipped all of this parchment paper, butter, and flour nonsense and just liberally sprayed the pan with cooking spray.)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Still working in the saucepan, whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing until they are well blended. Add the applesauce, vanilla and applejack (if you're using it), and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is once again smooth.

Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear, then mix in the apple, raisins and nuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the bars just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and let the cake cool while you make the glaze.

While waiting for the bars to cool... In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Put the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Adjust the heat so that the glaze simmers, and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Turn the bars out onto a rack, remove the paper and invert the bars onto another rack, so they are right side up. Slide the parchment paper under the rack to serve as a drip catcher. (I also skipped all of this and just left the bars in the pan. They were really moist and I was too afraid they were going to break if I took them out of the pan. Also, who needs this extra mess? Unnecessary.)

Grab a long metal icing spatula and pour the hot glaze over the bars, using the spatula to spread it evenly over the cake. Let them cool to room temperature before you cut them.

Cut into 32 rectangles, each about 2-1/4 x 1-1/2 inches. Yield: 32 Bars (Cut using Dorie's measurements, those would be some pretty small bars. I think we ended up with 16-20 bars.)

Storing: These will keep for about 3 days at room temperature. Because of the glaze, they cannot be frozen.


Christine October 6, 2008 at 2:54 PM  

those look great! I'm going to make the cake that is on the cover of that book - chocolate white-out cake - this weekend. yum! I can't wait to try it!

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