Rum Raisin Spice Bars
These old-fashioned rum raisin spice bars 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.
- 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
- 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.
For best results, use very fresh spices and be sure your raisins are moist and plump.
To make the glaze non-alcoholic, simply replace the rum with extra water.
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.