Apple-Raisin Walnut Bars

Yield: about 20 bars (one 8-inch square pan)
Recipe: 88/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 63

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     Oh how the months have passed me by! They fled at the speed of light. Almost December already! Finally having some free time on my hand and a spare apple to use, I decided to make these apple-raisin walnut bars. Let me tell you, these are delightful!! They are ultra moist with all the right flavors: apple, the sweetness of raisins and that touch of cinnamon. I had never used applesauce in a recipe, especially not combined with grated apples, but this combination generated such moistness that I will use this trick in the future. Let’s not forget the pleasant texture and nutty flavor provided by the walnuts. Don’t be fooled by the presence of raisins, this recipe makes for a delicious dessert or late-night snack. If you closed your eyes you (maybe) even wouldn’t know that they’re there. You have to trust me on this one. Go for it.

Ingredients for bars:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large apple, peeled and coarsely grated
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnut pieces

Ingredients for glaze:

  • ⅓  cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or apple juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat after each addition.
  4. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and beat well until blended.
  6. Stir in the grated apple, raisins and walnut pieces. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the pan comes out clean. When there is about 15 minutes left of baking, start preparing the glaze.
  7. For the glaze, stir all the ingredients together in a small saucepot except for the vanilla extract. Bring up to a simmer, stirring often. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  8. Once the cake comes out of the oven, pour the glaze over the hot cake and let it cool completely in the pan before removing it to slice into bars. Enjoy!

Valerie

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