Applesauce Bars with Brown Butter Icing are the perfect quick dessert recipe for fall. Moist and cakey bars are filled with applesauce and cinnamon flavors, and topped with a sweet brown butter icing.
Fall has some of the best and most comforting flavors and spices. My applesauce bars with brown butter icing are no exception.
These bars are so soft and moist, they're almost cake-like. They're also filled with fall-favorite spices, like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. They are practically mini spice cakes in bar form.
Take a look at the ingredients list - it's short and simple. Plus, the applesauce does the heavy lifting in this recipe, so no eggs are required.
Ingredients and substitutions
(frosting ingredients are not shown in the photo above)
Homemade or store bought applesauce can be used in this recipe.
Ginger or nutmeg can be omitted if desired, but add a nice depth of flavor to the baked bars.
Otherwise, I do not have any substitutions to offer for this recipe. Baking is an exact science, and each ingredient serves a purpose.
Making brown butter
Making brown butter is as simple as adding butter to a pan and allowing it to brown. No extra ingredients needed!
Keep a close eye on your butter and stir frequently. Eventually, it will turn a golden color and small brown flecks will appear at the bottom of the pan.
Once you have a good amount of brown flecks at the bottom of the pan, remove your butter from the heat and allow to come to room temperature.
Add your prepared frosting onto the cooled bars and using a knife or spatula, spread into an even layer.
Allow your frosting to set for a few minutes before cutting and serving.
How to serve applesauce bars
These applesauce bars are very moist and cake-like, and can be served a few ways. First, they can be served as bars. Meant to be picked up and eaten like a brownie or cookie - no utensils needed.
If your bars turn out extra moist (this will depend on how wet your applesauce is), they may be too tender to pick up and eat by hand. These bars are practically like a piece of spice cake.
You may prefer to serve your applesauce bars like a piece of cake, served with a fork. Either method is perfectly acceptable.
Applesauce Bars with Brown Butter Frosting
Applesauce Spice Bars
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Browned Butter Icing
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups confectioner's sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
Applesauce Spice Bars
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a bowl, add wet ingredients: melted butter, brown sugar, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- Pour into 8x8 pan and use a spatula to spread evenly to the edges. Batter will be thick.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (or with crumbs, not batter). Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Browned Butter Icing
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir frequently. Butter will begin to foam and boil. After 3 to 4 minutes you will see brown flecks appear in the bottom of the pan. Continue to stir until butter is golden and flecks are a medium brown color. Watch closely, butter will brown quickly. Process will take about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove butter from heat and pour into a small bowl. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or allow to set until butter is room temperature.
- Whisk confectioner's sugar in a bowl. Add cooled butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add more milk if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time until desired texture is reached.
- Pour icing onto bars. Use a knife to spread evenly over bars. Allow icing to set before cutting into bars.
- Bars can be served alone or with a fork to eat like cake. Depending on the moisture in your applesauce, bars may turn out more cake-like and tender.
- Leftover bars will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature in a sealed container.