Step 1: Gather the ingredients
1/2 c. applesauce (you can use 1 pack of those single serving applesauce containers)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. of your choice of mix-ins (mini marshmallows, chopped candy bars (Snickers, York peppermint patties, Reese's peanut butter cups, etc.), chopped nuts, dried fruit, chopped caramels, etc.) OR you can just use 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips for plain chocolate brownies OR for cheesecake brownies follow directions through pouring batter into pan (using 1 c. semisweet chips as mix-in) then beat together 1 package softened cream cheese (8 oz.), 1 egg, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and 1/2 c. sugar. Swirl over top of brownies and bake as instructed in recipe.
Step 2: Mix up the brownies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
Mix together the butter, applesauce, vanilla, brown sugar, and white sugar until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually mix into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in your choice of mix-ins (for this recipe I used Reese's peanut butter cups). Spread evenly into baking pan.