These rum raisin spice bars are reminiscent (not a copycat recipe) of store-bought raisin biscuits (aka Garibaldi Biscuits).
They’re an adaptation of a recipe found in a vintage cookbook called the Encyclopedia of Cooking by Mary Margaret McBride. Published in 1958 by the Homemakers Research Institute, this vintage cookbook is a real treasure to own.
We particularly love it for adapting baking recipes because our personal tastes have always run toward baked goods that are lightly sweetened, and most of the recipes dating back to that time period use less sugar than today’s counterparts.
These 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.
Coarsely crumble one bar into the bottom of an ice cream dish. Warm for 10 seconds on 70% power in the microwave and top with vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Rum Raisin Spice Bars
- 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.