Adorned with toasted pecans, these golden Honey Bars are soft, slightly chewy, and infused with the natural sweetness of honey.
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It’s no secret that I’m a lover of all things chocolate.
On my days off from my devoted relationship with chocolate (a little break now and then keeps the love strong), there’s a good chance I’m sneaking a second (or third) honey bar from the pan left dangerously accessible on my counter.
With their sweet, floral-flavored dough, chewy exterior, and gooey center, these honey cookie bars almost (almost) make me forget about my beloved chocolate.
Made with white whole wheat flour and applesauce, they’re a healthy(ish) sweet treat (like these Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies) I can feel good about eating.
Plus they are made entirely in ONE BOWL for easy clean up (just like my One Bowl Brownies)!
5 Star Review
“Made these today. Came out perfectly!”— Tanya —
How to Make Honey Bars
These soft and chewy honey bars are a healthy alternative to decadent Brownie Bites or rich chocolate blondies.
Sweetened with applesauce, honey, and just a touch of brown sugar, they’re an easy dessert bar and will be a special hit amongst blondie lovers.
- Honey. The key ingredient to these delightfully chewy and gooey honey bars that sweetens and gives them an ever so subtle floral taste and aroma.
Clover honey is my favorite for baking because it flavors the recipe with great honey taste without overpowering the other ingredients. Feel free to experiment however with other local unfiltered, raw, or wildflower varieties of honey.
- Butter. Lends great butter flavor, moisture, and tenderness to these chewy honey bars. It’s a blondie must!
- Applesauce. Trusting that the wonderfully wet and sticky honey would keep the blondies plenty moist, applesauce replaces what would otherwise be butter in this healthy honey bar recipe (similar to this Applesauce Cake).
- Flour. These honey cookie bars leverage one of my all-time favorite stealthy healthy baking hacks of using a 50/50 blend of all-purpose and white whole wheat flour to sneak in extra fiber and protein (as seen in these fabulous Cinnamon Blondies).
- Brown Sugar. Light brown sugar lends additional sweetness and subtle molasses flavor.
- Egg. Softens and tenderizes the cookie bars and gives them structure.
- Vanilla. Balances and unites all the flavors.
- Pecans. Add a wonderful earthy nuttiness to the bars that accent the whole wheat flour and pair perfectly with the sweetness of the honey and brown sugar. (For a bar recipe that’s HEAVY on the pecans, try these Pecan Pie Bars.)
- Melt together the butter, applesauce, and honey in a saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt.
- Let the batter cool 20 minutes, then stir in the chopped pecans.
- Transfer to a greased, parchment-lined pan. Bake the honey bars at 350 degrees F for 24 to 28 minutes, until the edges are browned and the center is set. Let cool and cut into squares. ENJOY!
- To Store. Honey bars may be stored, at room temperature, in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze. Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours before serving.
- To Reheat. For a fresh-baked taste, warm leftover honey bars for a few seconds in the microwave until warm.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Saucepan. My favorite everyday saucepan for sweet and savory recipes.
- Mixing Bowls. I love this nested set because there’s a bowl that’s the perfect size for any task.
- 8×8 Baking Pan. Perfect for bars, brownies, crisps, and cobblers of all flavors.
Chocolate, I’m sorry to say it, but there’s someone else and their name is honey bars.
Frequently Asked Questions
White whole wheat flour has a milder taste and lighter color and texture than regular whole wheat flour, so it’s typically preferred for dessert baking. That said, this recipe will work just fine with regular wheat flour. The final blondies may be a bit denser and have a more pronounced nutty wheat flavor, but that would actually be pretty nice with the honey.
I have only tested this recipe in an 8×8 pan so it would be an experiment. The recipe should turn out just fine. Note that the bars will be thinner and you’ll likely want to adjust the baking time slightly since they will bake more quickly in a larger pan.
The main difference between these two is that raw honey comes straight from the hive without being processed or pasteurized. The pasteurization process improves the appearance of honey, prolongs its shelf life, and kills bacteria that may be present in the honey. However, this process also removes some of the natural antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in raw honey also.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 large egg lightly beaten, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
- Flaky sea salt such as Maldon or fleur de sel, optional
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, then line with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang the edge on two sides. Grease and flour the pan, then tap out any excess flour. Set aside.
- Melt butter, applesauce, and honey in a saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Stir in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt, and mix until just combined. Let the batter cool 20 minutes, then stir in the chopped pecans.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top and spreading the batter as evenly as you can. If desired, sprinkle lightly with flaky salt.
- Bake the pecan blondies until the edges are browned and the center is set, 24 to 28 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely, then use the parchment to lift blondies out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve.
- TO STORE: Honey bars may be stored, at room temperature, in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- TO FREEZE: Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours before serving.
- TO REHEAT: For a fresh-baked taste, warm leftover honey bars for a few seconds in the microwave until warm.
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