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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Applesauce Spice Bars

I was perusing my fairly new Dorie Greenspan book Baking: From My Home to Yours when I came across this recipe. I saw the photo and just stopped. These looked so gorgeous and yummy and memory evoking, that I just had to try them out. I also had all the ingredients on hand (except for the rum, but my raisins are soaked in rum, so that works for me) and the directions looked so easy. Both the bar cookie and the topping are made in a saucepan, which means less mess to clean up, which means I can go back outside and enjoy the sun for a bit longer. This all adds up to a must make for me.

Applesauce Spice Bars:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I added a little extra, cause I'm like that, and I have no allspice)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces, 8 Tbsp)
1 cup packed brown sugar (Dorie's recipe calls for light brown sugar, but I only had dark and I do like the extra little bit of flavor)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract (or a bit extra)
1 Tbsp applejack, brandy or dark rum (optional, as I said, my raisins are soaked in rum, so I'll be using them)
1 baking apple (suggested are: Rome or Cortland. I only had Granny Smith's, so that's what I used), peeled, cored and finely diced
1/2 cup plump moist raisins
1/2 cup pecans
-Preheat oven to 350f. Butter a 9x13" baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment, butter the paper and dust the inside with flour. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
-Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
-In a 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. Remove the pan from the heat.
-Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until they are well blended. Add the applesauce, vanilla and booze, whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the the dry ingredients, mixing only until they have just disappeared. Fold in the apple, raisins and nuts.
Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth.
-Bake for 20-25 mintues, or until the bars just start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Place on a cooling rack, and make the glaze (mmmmmmmmmmmm, smells so good!)

The Glaze: (I did make a double batch of this due to saucepan size, and recommend a double batch if you like caramelly goodness)

2 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (again the recipe calls for light)
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
-In a small saucepan, whisk together everything but the vanilla (I unfortunately only have one saucepan, so I had to use my large one, I just kept an eye on things in case it needed less simmer time). Place 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 cooled bars out onto a rack, then invert the bars so they are upright on another rack. Place the sheetpan under the rack to serve as a drip catcher. Pour the hot glaze over the bars and spread out with a metal spatula evenly over the bars. Allow to cool to room temperature before you cut them. These are very light and very good. Not nearly as rich as the caramel apple cupcakes I made last fall. I do have a sneaking suspicion that these would have been even better if I had allspice (note to self, buy allspice).

Now, currently here in the lower Bay area it's quite nice out, and these bars are wonderful with a nice glass of iced tea. However, I feel these would be equally splendid with a nice hot cuppa.

Happy Baking!

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Brilynn said...

I haven't made this one yet, but I just know it's fantastic!

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Ooh, make them immediately! You are right, they are fantastic :D.

Ashley said...

They are delicious! What I like is that they are not heavy and sugary. I love them. I'm planning on making them myself.
Thank you,
Ashley (PMX tasting crew)

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Thanks, Ashley! I'm glad you like them. They are really simple to make. You're welcome

Anonymous said...

Delicious. I'm not always a big frosting fan, but loved this one. Lots of flavor, not too sweet.
- Brad

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Thank you, Brad. I like the fact that they aren't too sweet either.

Claire said...

Yum! These look so good. will have to try some time soon.

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Claire: they are very yummy, I do recommend them!

revmum said...

These were very good. Moist and flavorful without being too sweet. I did not use 2 batches of the glaze. After I grated the carrots for the carrot cupcakes by hand, these were easy--on to the food processor.
Barmy's Mum

Julie said...

Those look so sticky and wonderfully good.

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Thank you Julie, they were wonderfully moist and tasty!