Apple Brownies? You Bet!

Not your usual brownies. These are made with apples.

OK, technically, “Apple Brownies” are not brownies at all.

For one thing, there’s no chocolate in them.

But there are plenty of apples in a tender crumb that is suffused with cinnamon.

Plus, just like the best brownies, these bake up with an irresistible crackly texture on top. So much so, that just like brownies, you will be grabbing for the corner pieces first just to get as much of the sugary, crisp edges as you can.

“Apple Brownies” is a simple, one-pan recipe from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Co.) by Amy Traverso, senior food and home editor of Yankee magazine. The book, of which I received a review copy, includes 100 recipes for all things apple, plus an insightful guide to different apple varieties.

For this recipe, I used Junami apples that I received as samples. They are red apples, originally from Switzerland that are now grown in Washington. They are super crisp and practically squirt juice when you bite into them. They have a nicely balanced taste — not too tart, not too sweet — plus a lovely floral quality. They’re available now as long as supplies last at Safeway stores for about $1.99 a pound.

Junami apples.

In the cookbook, the recipe calls for an 11-by-7-inch pan. In the Martha Stewart Living reprinting of the recipe, it calls for an 8-by-11-inch pan. Having neither of those pans, I used an 8-by-8-inch one instead. If you use that size pan, too, just be aware that you may have to bake the brownies longer for about 55 to 60 minutes.

As it bakes, the house will fill with the aromas of apples and spice — so appropriate for the holidays.

As you crunch down into the crackly top and hit the tender cake-like center full of apples, you can take salvation in knowing these brownies are a little more virtuous than most.

Well, maybe just a little….

Apple Brownies

(Makes about 12 bars)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pan

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 large firm-sweet apples (about 1 pound total), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 3/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in the center position. Generously butter an 11-by-7-inch, 8-by-11-inch or 8-by-8-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer at high speed or using a hand-held mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and egg until pale, about 2 minutes. Add walnuts and apples and stir by  hand until evenly combined. Add flour mixture and stir until combined, another 30 seconds.

Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and lightly firm to the touch, 40 to 50 minutes (or about 60 minutes if using an 8-by-8-inch pan). Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then cut into bars and transfer to a serving platter.

Adapted from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” by Amy Traverso

Another Recipe from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook”: Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns

And More Apple Recipes: Stephanie Izard’s Apple-Pork Ragu with Pappardelle

And: Sally Schmitt’s Cranberry and Apple Kuchen with Hot Cream Sauce

And: Joanne Chang’s Apple Snacking Spice Cake

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  • A great recipe ! Those must taste wonderful.

    Happy Holidays.



  • You’re really turning me into an apple snack lover! All your apple baked goods always turn out great, so can’t wait to try this. I wonder what would happen if you did add chocolate to this recipe? Hmmmm….

  • What a great ingredient sub for the ubiquitous brownie. I’m getting sorta tired of chocolate (if you can believe it) from all the holiday snacking. 😉

  • Okay now these just look so good!! If we hadn’t eaten all of the apples the other day I think that these would be just the best tasting things to be munching down on today. We love apples and cinnamon so what a great combination for us.

  • Ooh, this looks like a great recipe to use up the apples in our fridge! Ben, I like your idea of adding chocolate to the mix. *grins and rubs hands together*

  • Row and Ben: LOL It’s true — the Food Gal will be the first to say that you can never have too much chocolate!

  • Honestly, I would call these Blondies, but really by any name they are stupendous! And this cookbook? My husband is a freak for any dessert or snack or baked good with apples in it so I must get a copy of this cookbook! The Apple Brownies look marvelous and I am thrilled you shared the recipe! Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • I’m always looking for more ways to bake with apples. These brownies sound perfect! And, those crackly tops look irresistible.

  • My mom would love this! She loves brownies but cannot eat chocolate. 😀

  • Apple brownies are new to me, but I really like the idea. Looks like a really nice recipe. And it also looks like a great way to get an apple a day (to keep the doctor away). 😉

  • These look so good! Nice alternative to the regular chocolate brownies! Would go great with some ice cream 😛

  • that looks like the cookbook for me! i don’t believe i’ve ever rejected something containing apples, and these brownies are no exception. 🙂

  • Ooohh, apple brownies sound amazing! I love apples and bar desserts like this.

  • Passed this recipe on to my mom, who happened upon junami apples at her local grocery store in St. Louis and cooked’em up into these brownies. She loved the no-crust part of a pie-like dessert and my father found the apples so sweet he added no sugar the way he typically does with pie! The recipe has now been added to her go-to dessert list. Thank you, Carolyn – and Ms. Traverso! I also bought the book! 🙂

  • Sara: So glad your Mom loved the apple brownies. The recipe has become a favorite of mine, too. I’ve made it twice already and keep wanting to make another batch week after week.
    Hope you enjoy the cookbook. The apple biscuits recipe is great, too. And don’t forget, if you go through my Amazon portal to order the book, the Food Gal gets a piddly commission. LOL Every little bit helps. Happy baking!

  • Pingback: 75 Fantastic Apple Recipes for Fall – Vintage Bright

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