Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Apple Spice Bars

I promise that this will be the last dessert post for awhile. I realize that I have been rather delinquent in posting recipes for anything that could constitute a real meal and my husband is getting a little sad that every time he expects say, coq au vin (something I will be posting about soon), he is instead presented with a sweet treat. As the winter season finally winds down, this is my last chance to bake up a storm in my kitchen. Once allergy season hits, all bets are off on whether I will even step into the kitchen.

Anyway, my latest baking foray were these apple spice bars. Because making homemade pastry crusts still intimidate me, I figured this is the closest I would get to a homemade apple pie. The bars turned out to be a cross between an apple pie and a blondie, which certainly is not a bad thing. The flavor actually improved on the second day. However, I did not love the consistency -- the bars were slightly too moist and sticky, to the point that they were falling apart. By the third and fourth day, they were almost a pile of mush. I actually used pourable light brown sugar in place of dark brown sugar, which I thought would lower the moisture content of the bars. I imagine that dark brown sugar might make these bars way too soft. My suggestion -- bake them and eat them all by the second day! As usual, I halved the recipe and the halved version appears below.

Apple Spice Bars


1 c. plus 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt (I added a touch more)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/16 tsp nutmeg (I added a touch more)
1/16 tsp allspice (I used ginger instead)
small pinch ground cloves
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. packed brown sugar (as I mentioned, I used pourable light brown sugar)
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 apple, cored and diced (a little less than 1 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 8x8 pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to combine well and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine sugars and butter and beat until light and fluffy.

4. Add egg beating well to combine. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined. Fold in apples.

5. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar.

6. Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (Bars will be very soft.)

Makes 9 large or 12 small(er) bars.

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