I've been trying not to make random recipes out of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours, waiting each week to make the selected recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) instead. That said, I've been dying to make Dorie's Applesauce Spice Bars since it was my turn to pick the recipe, over six months ago (this was my second choice). It will probably get picked sometime this fall, when apple and pumpkin recipes will abound, but after I learned how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker, I had to try Dorie's Burnt Sugar Ice cream. And what better to go with that ice cream than the Applesauce Spice Bars?
Dorie instructs you to bake these in a rectangular baking pan lined with parchment paper. After baking, you're supposed to invert the bars out onto a rack and then glaze. My cake was so moist and soft, I could tell that it would all fall apart if I attempted to invert it. So I left it in the pan and glazed, then cut it into bars after it was completely cooled.
These were so moist and delicious! I added extra chopped apples, because I love apples (and also because I was omitting the nuts). It reminded me quite a bit of the Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce I made last fall. I made the glaze exactly as directed, but somehow did not end up with enough to make my glaze layer as thick as depicted in the cookbook. Next time I make these I will probably double the glaze recipe.
These bars paired perfectly with the Burnt Sugar Ice Cream! For now I leave you with the Applesauce Spice Bar recipe. I'll be posting the ice cream recipe tomorrow, so stay tuned...
Applesauce Spice Bars
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 (I used 1/8 tsp)
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter (I used salted butter and decreased the salt)
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 used Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum)
1 baking apple, such as Rome or Cortland, peeled, cored and finely diced or chopped (I used 2)
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I omitted these)
*If you do not have allspice: substitute 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg for 1 tsp allspice (for this recipe you'll use 1/16 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/16 tsp nutmeg)
For the Glaze:
2-1/2 tbsp heavy cream
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (I used salted butter)
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x13-inch 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.
To Make the Bars:
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.
To Make the Glaze:
In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Put the man 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, 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
Storing: These will keep for about 3 days at room temperature. Because of the glaze, they cannot be frozen.