Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Browned Butter Applesauce Bars with Apple Walnut Streusel

Baking with apples cries out for brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and fills your home with a heady aroma of autumn.   These bars turned out to be more cake than cookie so think of them as the blondie for apple eaters.  Take a big bite of fall right here!

Many years ago, when I was still a student at the University of Texas, I had an internship with the Texas Tourism Bureau.  One of my responsibilities was writing press releases about the wonders of our great state.  Information would cross my desk and I would turn it into something interesting that the wire services would, if it caught their fancy, pick up send out to newspapers to reprint.  Now this was back in the dark ages before internet so going viral meant being picked up by either AP (Associated Press) and UPI (United Press International.)  I had one story that was picked up by both.  My deliberately provocative headline read: “New England Ain’t Got Nothing on Us” and it was all about the beautiful fall foliage in East Texas’s Piney Woods.  Somewhere in my portfolio, I have clipped copies of the article and the furor that ensued as all of New England and other east coast states reprinted and expressed their outrage that Texas could even START to compare.  Even a few west coast papers chimed in.  It was great fun and my boss and I were high-fiving all over the office!  Not bad for just an intern.

For naysayers and skeptics, I’m going to send you right over to Texas Highways, the Travel Magazine of Texas.  See!

When I am in the US, I wouldn’t dream of sitting outside when temperatures are still in the nineties (Farenheit) or the mid-thirties (Celsius) but here in Dubai, after the scorching summer, this does actually feel cool.  Relatively speaking.  So I sit outside with my newspaper and a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and as I watch pendulous yellow and red dates ripen into sticky, sweet dark brown on my palm trees, I dream of the vibrantly colored leaves in colder climes.  And I bake with apples.

And one morning recently we were thrilled to get a visit from a parrot. 
For the base:
2 cups or 250g flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 115g browned butter – follow Kayle’s instructions here and make enough for the streusel as well.
1/3 cup or 75g sugar
1/4 cup, firmly packed, or 50g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1 cup or 100g chopped walnuts

For the streusel:
1 cup or 100g chopped walnuts
1 medium Granny Smith apple (about 7 oz or 200g before coring and chopping)
1/4 cup, firmly packed, or 50g brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup or 57g browned butter– follow Kayle’s instructions here and make enough for the base as well.
1/4 teaspoon salt

For drizzled glaze – optional
1/2 cup or 60g icing sugar
3-4 teaspoons milk

Step one is browning your butter.  Follow the link here for full instructions and make sure you brown enough for the base AND the streusel.  Sorry to keep repeating but I don't want you to brown half a cup and then realize!

Put the browned butter for the streusel in a medium-sized bowl.  Peel and core your apple and cut it into small pieces.

Add them to the browned butter in the streusel bowl and mix well.  This will stop your apple from browning.

Add in the rest of the streusel ingredients and stir well.  Set aside.

Now we are ready to make the base.  Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare a large baking pan (about 10x16in or 24x40cm) by greasing it with butter or non-stick spray.  I like to line mine first with foil, because, since I can lift it out when cool, cutting is easier.

Mix your flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.

In yet another mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the browned butter and sugars for the base.

Add in the eggs and the vanilla and beat well.

Add in the flour mixture and beat again briefly.

Using a spatula, fold in the applesauce and then the chopped walnuts.

Pour into your prepared baking pan smooth out the top with a spatula.  Make sure the batter is even all the way to the corners.

Sprinkle on the streusel topping and bake in the preheated for 25-30 minutes or until the edges pull away from the sides a little and the whole thing is a delicious golden color.

Meanwhile, measure the powdered sugar for the glaze into a small bowl and add milk one teaspoon at a time, stirring well, until the glaze is of drizzling consistency.

Remove the applesauce bars from the oven and allow to cool completely before drizzling on the glaze.  I prefer to use a piping bag for more even drizzling but you can do it with the spoon or fork.  Whatever works for you.

Just keep drizzling till it's all used up.  You can't have too much glaze. 
Now cut that applesauce bar goodness into squares.  I got 48 2in or 5cm squares.


Join our hosts Laura from The Spiced Life and Rebecka from At Home with Rebecka and my other fellow Creative Cookie Exchange bakers by baking and sharing your favorite apple cookie or bar!  It’s the best way to celebrate autumn!

To join in the fun, just complete the steps below:
1. Write a blog post with cookie recipe and original photo using apples.  We would like the recipe to be one you’re making for the first time, and photos must be original.
2. Post the Creative Cookie Exchange badge somewhere on your blog so others can join in the fun.

Creative Cookie Exchange

3. Make a good faith effort to visit and comment on the other cookies in the Linky party. We all love cookies so that should be easy!
4. LIKE the Creative Cookie Exchange Facebook Page
5. FOLLOW the Creative Cookie Exchange Pinterest Board
6. LINK your blog post below using the Linky tool

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes.  Be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration for this month's theme, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:


  1. Destiny seems to have taken your hand and guided you to travel related business from the start, Stacy. Bravo on your headline coup as an intern =) And kudos to you for this yummy apple blondie =)

    P.s. Love the photo of the parrot in your garden =)

  2. I didn't realize you were living in Dubai! My husband has been there a few times for work and says it's amazing!

    Your bars a loaded with all kinds of goodies! I'm looking forward to making them this holiday season. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe with us this month!

  3. I swear I could eat the entire plateful right now!!

  4. Wouldn't brown butter go beautifully with apples-- why I hadn't considered that before reading your post is beyond me! I think these would disappear quickly at my house!

  5. Thank you, Kim. It was quite the coup at the time. All press is good press, as they say. :)

    When we went on a weekend holiday to the east coast of the UAE, there were flocks of parrots but this is the first time we've seen one here in Dubai proper. We were speculating about whether he was wild, gone astray, or someone's pet.

  6. And more browned butter in the streusel too, Renee! It makes a pretty big pan though, so there'd be plenty if you did have to share.

  7. We've been here almost a year, Rebecka, and have really enjoyed it. You need to come with him next time and we'll do foodie things while he works.

  8. Pour yourself a big cold glass of milk, Kelli, and dig in!

  9. Browned butter goes with EVERYTHING, Holly. I must confess that I actually browned two whole cups and now have browned butter in the refrigerator at the ready for future recipes.

  10. Those bars are so nutritious, I could gobble a few right now!

  11. Those are beautiful and sound tasty. Love your Texas story too. I've always wanted to visit the area you are talking about.

  12. I could certainly eat one or two, okay at least a dozen of these and I love the drizzle on top. Your photos are beautiful too. How lucky that you have fresh dates in your backyard. And I know exactly what you mean by any slight dip in the temperature feeling cool.

  13. These are beautiful! Brown butter, apples, streusel. All of the best things! Definitely would love to make these! :)

  14. Thanks, Cheah! Wish I could send you some!

  15. It's beautiful, Karen! As a Girl Scout, I often camped and hiked in those woods.

  16. They are perfect for fall, Miranda! All the right spices and smells as they bake.

  17. I have to admit that the dates are kind of a pain, Felice. The birds eat them mostly because I haven't covered them with mesh. I'll be better organized next year!

  18. Thank you, Sophie. You just can't go wrong with browned butter or streusel.

  19. Lol very smart and cheeky of you to print that headline, Stacy. That's it - I want to come and visit you and eat amazingly delicious food like these applesauce bars and see parrots and watch dates get sticky. We'll have the best time!

  20. This sounds ridiculous, but I had to look really hard to see the parrot! Haha. Wow, dates ripening on trees? That's such an unfamiliar sight for us Aussies. Pretty sure dates don't even grow here. Love the look of these bars. Browned butter makes everything better!! Yum. Wish I could pop over for a cuppa and devour one of these right now! xx

  21. Thank you, Nancy, it was rather cheeky and got quite a few people very worked up. You are welcome to come anytime! I have plenty of space since the girls don't use their bedrooms most of the year.

  22. It wasn't the best shot, Laura. My husband had to take this photo from the dining room because when we opened the back door, the darn parrot would immediately fly off. I wish you could pop over too. If you ever do head back to the UK for a visit, plan a stopover here on the way. Got plenty of room and it would be my pleasure to have you stay.

  23. You are seriously dedicated, because I can barely move in those temperatures, let alone bake! But I am glad you did! I love everything streusel, looks like we were channeling the same inspirations for this month!


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