Friday, August 29, 2008

Applesauce Spice Bars

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

Getting Ready:
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.


  1. These look so delicious- perfect for fall. It's hard when I want to make a Dorie recipe so bad but I try to wait until it's chosen. Like you, sometimes I just can't help it and I have to make it anyway :) I might have to do the same with these. I will most definitely keep the ice cream in mind, because it sounds wonderful.

  2. Wow that looks AMAZING with ice cream! I can't wait for it to actually be fall!

  3. I love apple anything, and these look wonderful, especially with your ice cream.

  4. I would love to eat this for sure! The glaze on top looks so nice, even if you say it wasn't enough, I'm sure the ice-cream made up for it!

  5. these look soooo good! i have dorie's book and i am running off now to mark the recipe to try! what a wonderful fall dessert.

  6. These look so moist and delicous - great pictures!

  7. Those bars AND that burnt-sugar ice cream look positively scrumptious - WOW!! Hooray for more amazing Dorie recipes!

  8. Those bars look delicious! I can't wait for fall and lots of baking with apples. I will definitely be making these as soon as the air gets a little nippy. I've been on an ice cream kick, too, and learned a few new tricks this week- I'll be posting them on Tues.

  9. I absolutely love the combination of apples and caramel so these bars look heavenly to me. Shall take a look at that cake of yours too.

  10. Those bars look so moist and tender and good! Serving them with ice cream sounds great!

  11. Omy God! These apple bars look amazing and delicious!!! I want one please! Gloria

  12. good. googa. mooga. forget apple pie, apple cobbler, and apple crisp. this is what i want to eat every day for the rest of my life. if people insist i vary things a bit, i'll just use regular vanilla ice cream from time to time. :)
    when i say really, really nicely done, i really, really mean it. :)

  13. Ive been wanting to make these too. I think the ice cream and bar combo is fantastic. I will def pair them up as soon as the weather cools off. They both look lovely Jaime!

  14. I have been eyeing these bars in the cookbook, but after seeing your pics I have to make them! They look delicious!

  15. I've been making a ton of Dorie recipes recently too. These didn't appeal to me at first but recently I've started to think about making them and seeing them here is convincing me even more!

  16. Ooh, those look delicious! I love apple desserts. I may have to wait a bit, though. The calendar may say September, but it's going to be a while before we get any fall weather.

  17. OMGOSH! IM IN HEAVEN! These look soooooooooooooooo amazing! Starred and scheduled. THANKS! YUM!!!

  18. I'm hungry, really really hungry now. Nice photos.

  19. These look great! I love the spices in this one :)

  20. Just wanted to let you know that your photos and recipe were lifted by another blogger. She copyrighted them then took the credit as her own. She did the same to me too.


  21. Is there any nutritional information on these?

  22. Hi Marisa - I apologize for the delay in responding; this comment got buried in my emails and I did not see it until just now. I do not have any nutritional information on these but you could try a google search to see if you can find anything...