Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Applesauce Spice Bars

I was making this for company, and Ray was a little hesitant that I make a new recipe for his brother and wife! This cake just isn't photogenic, so I searched online. There are a lot reviews online. This was a recipe chosen among a large group of bloggers who all make a recipe every Tuesday (Tuesdays with Dorie) from the cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

These bars are cake-like. They are so easy to make and very good. It isn't the most beautiful dessert but it is something you keep nipping bites from. This is a nice recipe when you need a quick, tasty dessert. The bars/ cake come together in one pan. The only hard work of the recipe is chopping the apple. I did a small dice and wouldn't change that. 

I did follow the suggestions of the other bloggers, and just kept my bars in the pan, instead of turning them out. I also waited about an hour to let the cake cool before making and pouring the glaze. Some folks doubled the glaze but I think that would have been overkill.

Applesauce Spice Bars
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan Baking: From my House to Yours

For the Bars
1-1/4 cups 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
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon applejack, brandy or dark rum (optional)
1 baking apple, such as Rome or Cortland, peeled, cored and finely diced or chopped
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark and/or golden) I used both and soaked in some rum while I was preparing the bars. I drained the raisins before adding them to the cake batter.

For the Glaze
2-1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F. Butter a 9-x-13 inch baking pan, and dust the inside of the pan with flour.  Tap out the excess. I used Crisco for baking.
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 are 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 and raisins. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the cake just starts 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.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Put the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil, whisking frequently. Adjust the heat so that the glaze simmers, and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes. Using a long metal icing spatula and pour the hot glaze over the cake, using the spatula to spread it evenly over the cooled cake. Let the cake cool to room temperature before you cut it.
Kept in a covered container, the bars will be fine for about 3 days at room temperature. Because of the glaze, they cannot be frozen.
Cut the cake into 32 bars, each about 2-1/4 x 1-1/2 inches.

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