Friday, October 10, 2014

Maple Apple Cake Bars

Sometimes at work we get boxed lunches, and it seems like I usually have leftover apples. This happens at Panera, too. I suppose I could just eat those apples, but where is the fun in that? I had established a critical mass at home so I decided it was time to find a recipe to use up the apples. It’s fall, the perfect time to bake with apples. I found these bars, apples paired with maple, and knew they would be great.

I used a couple of different varieties of apples in this recipe, which I think is wonderful since different apples bring different characteristics. I know one was a granny smith apple and the others were gala apples, I think. It was a good combination, tart but not too tart, and the gala apples weren’t quite as firm as the granny smiths. I did run out of maple for the bars, so I ended up using a combination of maple syrup and honey. They are both gooey and sweet so I figured there would be no problem. I did go get more maple syrup for the glaze.

These bars were easy to make, but they took a lot longer to bake than the original recipe stated. That could be because of the honey, I’m not sure. I baked it 25 minutes, the time specified in the recipe and it was still batter on top. I kept adding more time, 4 minutes here and there, until they were evenly golden brown. I lost track of how long I had them in the oven! The bars are very soft and cakey, so you need to be careful when cutting them. These have a great apple flavor, and the maple flavor is there but fairly subtle. I can taste the honey and really love that paired with the apple and maple. Maybe next time I will just make Honey Apple Cake Bars!

Maple Apple Cake Bars
½ cup butter
1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 cups chopped peeled apples
¼ cup butter
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” × 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a large mixer bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix on medium on until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the apples with a spatula. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 30-50 minutes, until golden brown and a thin knife inserted in the bars comes out with a couple of crumbs. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before glazing. Just before glazing, remove the bars from the pan and peel away the foil.

Make the glaze: In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the maple syrup and brown sugar and increase the heat to medium. Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, which will give the glaze time to thicken. Pour the glaze over the bars. With a small spatula smooth the glaze so it covers the bars completely. Allow the glaze to set before cutting into bars.

Recipe from The Recipe Critic

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