Unbelievable Apple Butter Brownies & Pumpkin Bars

Just wanted to link up to recipes for a few of the most delicious treats in which I've recently indulged!

I bought a huge jar of apple butter that I didn't want to go to waste, but I was in the mood for something chocolatey and rich. A quick search yielded an incredible Apple Butter Brownie recipe from Steph Chows that is pretty much to-die-for. I'm a sucker for brownie batter and was a little bit worried when this batter didn't taste quite as sweet as the ones I'm used to. When the brownies were nice and cool, however, they were perfectly sugary and fudgy too (which may just be because I doubled the amount of chocolate chips from 1/2 cup to 1 cup). The apple flavor is pretty much indiscernable once these treats are baked, so don't let the combination of apples and chocolate turn you off. Though these are a slightly healthier version of the traditional brownie, what you sacrifice in artery-clogging ingredients you more than make up for in taste. And they're a delicious departure from Christmas cookies if you need something to take to a holiday party or to give as a gift too!

I also whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars (minus the cream cheese) from Chocolate-Covered Katie. I wanted to make some pumpkin treats to give as Christmas presents but decided to try something other than the old standby which my friends all got a taste of last year, delicious Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate and Cranberries. These pumpkin bars were pretty phenomenal and a nice departure from the expected - not quite a pumpkin bread nor a pumpkin cookie, they're a dense and tasty pumpkin brownie of sorts. I'm sure they would be scrumptious with a cream cheese frosting, but I liked them so much on their own and thought it easier to distribute them icing-free that I opted for a plain old pumpkin bar. One note, however, is that you should probably double this recipe as a single batch of this batter barely covered my pan - I quickly whipped up another one to add in.

Much as I love the classic Christmas cookie, this holiday season I was definitely in the mood for something new, especially since I made eight batches of cookies around this time last year! These brownies and pumpkin bars are easy to gift, plenty delicious, and even a little bit healthier than your typical holiday treat. Happy baking!

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