Rum Raisin Spice Bars

These old-fashioned bar cookies are filled with plump golden raisins and crunchy walnuts. They have a slightly chewy texture, rich, spicy flavor and are lightly glazed with a little dark rum and confectioners' sugar for just the right touch of sweetness.

Rum Raisin Spice Bars
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  • Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • For the glaze ~
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons rum (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons water

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 375° and grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly roll pan.

Measure the sifted flour, then add the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Sift the ingredients together a second time and set aside.

Cream the shortening and sugar together, then add the molasses, egg, rum extract, water and vinegar. Beat until smooth, then stir in the dry ingredients, raisins and walnuts.

Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan, using your fingers to pat into an even layer. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Watch carefully and don't over bake.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a large cooling rack. Allow to cool for another 10 minutes, and transfer to a cutting board. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, rum and water until it forms a smooth glaze. Brush the glaze over the top of the bars, allow to harden and use a sharp knife to cut them into 1-1/2 x 1-1/4-inch bars. Store in a tightly sealed container, using wax paper between the layers.

Makes 80 bars

Tip: For best results, use very fresh spices and be sure your raisins are moist and plump.

Recipe Notes:
To make the glaze non-alcoholic, simply replace the rum with extra water.

Serving Suggestion:
Coarsely crumble a couple of bars into the bottom of an ice cream dish. Warm for 10 to 15 seconds on 70% power in the microwave and top with vanilla ice cream.

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