applesauce chocolate chip bars

This is an easy recipe to throw together, has relatively low quantities of added sugar, and gave me that first hint of fall baking.  The combination of cinnamon and nutmeg just had that “it’s not going to be summer forever” effect on me.  These bars serve well as a healthier after-school snack or lunchbox treat, or with a warm cup of coffee on a cool fall morning (winter, if you live in the desert).  Kat gave them two thumb’s up so that’s a win in the Mom Column, if you ask me.  I thought, given this recipe’s decidedly autumn-ish undertones, you could easily substitute raisins for the chocolate chips and they’d be just as tasty.  Enjoy!

applesauce chocolate chip bars

Ingredients:

  •  1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (may use 1/4 cup egg substitute instead)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts or nuts of your choice (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 325°.

Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking oil spray, or line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on 2 sides for easy release after baking.Combine the shortening, brown sugar and egg in a mixing bowl until well incorporated, then add the applesauce and mix well.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the 3/4 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and set aside.  Combine flour, baking soda,, salt, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and the nutmeg, mixing well.   Fold flour mixture into the combined butter/sugar/egg.  Add chocolate chips (and nuts, if you choose), stirring to mix well.  Pour the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until browned or a toothpick comes out clean. 

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool, then run a knife around the edges and cut into bars.  If you like, wrap each bar individually and freeze, then pop a single-serving in to your kids’ lunchboxes.  It’ll be thawed and ready to enjoy by lunchtime.

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