I made this recipe yesterday and it was so good that I had to come here and share with my blog friends! The recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine, and it is another one that will certainly be repeated, as I already got requests to make it again.
These apple-date bars were a nice treat for a cold afternoon, something sweet and warm that will definitely make you feel good. What can be better than warm apples with the sweet taste of cinnamon to it? Add some nuts and a few flavorings more and what you get is a tasty and moist bar, with juicy and yummy apple pieces inside, divine! I love baked apples; apple cake and muffins are my favorite, so this was for sure one of the best treats for me.
And for those of you that like dates, then you will probably like it even more! The combination is good, however, I have tried and just can’t get myself to like dates. I have tried dates by itself, wrapped in proscciutto, in baked goods, and nope, they are definitely not for me. So many good reviews on this recipe made me want to try them again, but I assure you, this was it for me. I don’t know why, but their texture and taste are just difficult to swallow, plus I can barely eat ¼ of it, as I find them to be sickly sweet.
Yeah, I know, most people enjoy them, and so did my husband and my son (they really liked them in the cake!), unfortunately they are not for me; but I am proud that I gave them another try.
I halved the recipe when I made it yesterday, baking it on a square baking dish; but I have to say that I should have made the whole thing as the bars were literally devoured (mainly by me!) on the same day. Most reviewers of this recipe mentioned the bars being great on the next day, but I didn’t get a chance to try. There was indeed one piece left, and Matheus asked me to save it for him to have for breakfast today. I warmed it slightly for him today and he loved it even more! He was sad to eat the last piece, and already requested that I make it again soon, “This apple cake is very delicious Mommy”!
I have a ton of bananas ripening on the counter right now, and when I mentioned making something with bananas today he looked at me and said: “but that apple cake was so good, I wanted more apples, not bananas in my cake!” Cute, huh!?!!
Here is the original recipe from Cooking Light, but I made mine with half all-purpose and half whole-wheat flour, added a little more apples than asked for (my apples were big!), used walnuts instead of pecans (what I had on hand), and also reduced the sugar by half, and believe me, they were plenty sweet for us, even more with the super sweet date pieces around (which I will leave out next time…).
Hope you all like it too, they were very moist and delicious, we really enjoyed them here at home! And with less sugar and some whole-wheat flour, they sure are suitable for a yummy breakfast treat!
(Adapted from Cooking Light, Oct. 2006)
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1 large)
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled Red Delicious apple (about 1 large)
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325°.
Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Set aside.
Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg and egg whites, beating well after each addition. Stir in applesauce and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture; stir just until combined to form a stiff batter. Toss dates with 1 teaspoon flour. Toss apples with juice. Add dates, apples, and nuts to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Pour batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.