Applesauce Spice Bars

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The applesauce spice bars are a nice, cinnamon-y snack to have around.  I’m not sure why all the apple bits migrated to the center of the pan while baking, but regardless the bars taste fine.

 

Applesauce Spice Bars
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 32 bars

For bars:

  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar OR 1 cup white sugar+dollop molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon applejack OR brandy OR dark rum (optional)
  • 1 baking apple (such as Rome or Cortland, but I used a Fuji and it worked)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
For glaze (optional):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream OR 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar OR 1/3 cup white sugar+dollop molasses
  • 2-2 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar OR light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with aluminum foil and butter or spray with cooking spray.  Place on a baking sheet.
  2. Peel, core, and finely dice or chop apple.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  4. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
  5. Add brown sugar OR white sugar+molasses and stir with a whisk until it is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
  6. Remove pan from heat.
  7. Still working in the saucepan, whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing until they are well blended.
  8. Add applesauce, vanilla, and applejack/brandy/rum (if using), and whisk until ingredients are incorporated and mixture is smooth.
  9. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in dry ingredients.  If you’re using all-purpose flour, mix only until they disappear.  If you’re using gluten-free flour, don’t worry about over-mixing.
  10. Mix in apple, raisins, and nuts (if using).
  11. Scrape batter into baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.
  12. Bake 25-28 minutes if gluten free, 23-25 minutes otherwise.  The cake should just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted in the center should come out clean.  For the gluten-free version, the central area of the top of the cake might still look moist, but that’s okay.
  13. Transfer baking pan to a rack and let cake cool.
  14. If desired, make the glaze: In a saucepan, combine cream OR milk, sugar, butter, and agave nectar OR corn syrup.  Put pan over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring or whisking frequently.  Reduce the heat so glaze simmers for 5 minutes, stirring and whisking frequently.  Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla, if using.
  15. If desired, glaze bars: Pour hot glaze over the bars in the pan, spreading it evenly over the top with a long metal icing spatula.  The glaze cools and begins to solidify relatively fast, so work quickly while it is still runny.  Let bars cool to room temperature before you cut them.
  16. Remove cake in aluminum foil from pan and careful peel foil down from edges.  Cut cake into 32 rectangles, each about 2 1/4″ x 1 1/2″.  Carefully lift off foil.
  17. The bars can be stored in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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