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posted: 12/6/2011 6:00 AM

Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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cup unsweetened, unflavored applesauce

2⅛ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

teaspoon salt

teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons unsalted butter ( stick), melted and slightly cooled

1 cup packed, light brown sugar

cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place a wire mesh strainer over a bowl deep enough to keep the strainer from touching the bowl's bottom. Add applesauce; set aside.

Place the oven rack in the lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil, pushing it into the corners and up the pan's sides. Lightly spray with vegetable oil; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk flour, salt and baking soda together; set aside.

Measure 6 tablespoons drained applesauce and add it to a medium-large mixing bowl along with the melted butter and sugars; whisk until well combined. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into sugar mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in chips and turn batter into prepared pan; smooth the top. Bake 27-30 minutes or until top is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch and edges start pulling away from pan sides. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Using the foil, remove bars from pan and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Serves 24.

@Recipe nutrition:Nutrition values per cookie: 146 calories (33.9 percent from fat), 5.5 g fat (3.2 g saturated), 23.6 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g fiber, 1.7 g protein, 25 mg cholesterol, 72 mg sodium.

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