These pecan-studded beauties are light, seriously chocolatey, and dangerously more-ish. In fact, my Old-Fashioned Applesauce Pecan Brownies may be the most delicious brownies I have ever tasted!
The recipe is adapted from an old Betty Crocker cookbook – my tried and true ‘Cooky Book’ (that’s really how they spelled it!) which I bought when I was 10 years old. And like my Old-Fashioned Spice Cake, this recipe is yet another example of how vintage recipes really can be the best recipes.
Vintage recipes are also often the easiest recipes. These Applesauce Pecan Brownies can be made entirely in a saucepan, and takes just moments to stir together with a wooden spoon. As always, the best way to make a recipe like this is to assemble all your ingredients first, measure them, and do anything else that needs to be done, like chopping nuts or sifting dry ingredients together, before you start.
You honestly can’t taste the applesauce in these brownies – but while I’d like to say it makes them healthy, that would be stretching the truth. But with dark chocolate, applesauce and pecans in the mix, I can say these brownies are definitely wholesome.
The applesauce gives a gorgeous texture and lightness plus it also helps the brownies to keep really well. I kept a few in a sealed container for five days at cool room temperature and they still tasted delicious on day five. Be sure to use very smooth applesauce for this recipe. If you make your own, I suggest puréeing it to get a really smooth texture. Try it with my Crockpot Apple and Pear Sauce – it works really well in this recipe!
Use A Good Rich Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
It doesn’t sound like there is a lot of chocolate in these brownies, but they do taste unbelievably chocolatey. You want to use good dark chocolate and cocoa for this recipe because it absolutely makes a difference. I recommend Green and Black’s or Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate and their cocoa too, simply because we love the flavour. Occasional I’ll use a darker chocolate with 70% cocoa solids for an even deeper, darker chocolate hit.
You may know this already, but when it comes to cocoa, you need to buy one that is specifically for baking or making hot drinks from scratch. In the UK, you can also buy cocoa labelled ‘drinking chocolate’. Do not use drinking chocolate for baking!! It contains a mix of cocoa powder, sugar and often powdered milk which doesn’t give a good flavour at all. For baking, you want pure cocoa with nothing else added.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Applesauce Pecan Brownies?
This was a challenging recipe to adapt. It wasn’t because of how it is made, but because while I have become a master of the three bite taste test (flavour, texture, and one for good measure), this Applesauce Pecan Brownie recipe was downright irresistible. It made following my healthy eating plan very tricky!
Applesauce Pecan Brownies are indescribably good served with a glass of Pinot Noir – again not really a part of my healthy eating plan, but lovely nonetheless. And not for your kids, of course. I’d stick with milk for them.
Applesauce Pecan Brownies – Printable Recipe
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 ounces (57 grams) dark chocolate
- ¾ cup granulated or caster sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup smooth applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup all-purpose (plain) flour
- ¼ cup cocoa
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C or 165° for fan ovens, gas mark 4).
- Lightly grease a 9 x 9 x 1¾ inch (23 x 23 x 5 cm) square baking pan.
- Heat the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the two ingredients melt together.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, applesauce and vanilla. Then stir in the beaten eggs.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and stir into the mixture in the saucepan.
- Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth, then stir in the chopped pecans.
- Spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched lightly.
- Cool completely (or for as long as you can resist) before cutting and serving. The brownies do slice better the closer they are to room temperature.