When I need to make dessert my mind first goes to chocolate. Alas I married a man who is not as fond of chocolate as I. Life is full of small compromises and one of mine is I don’t just make chocolate cake for dessert.
I found the recipe for Spice Cookie Bars at our “local” Penzeys Spice. We make a short pilgrimage a couple of times a year to their Arlington (MA) location to restock the pantry. One of my favorite parts is that they have jars of all their spices & blends available for customers to open, sniff and get a sense of the differences between 3 types of ground chile. They also have recipe cards randomly placed around the store with their products.
The resulting bars had a spongy quality that remind me of hermits. From the way they disappeared from the plate I’m guessing that folks like them a lot.
Spice Cookie Bars
Servings: ~24 2″ square bars
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 1 cup Zante currants
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 3/4 cups (236 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon (used Penzeys’ Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon)
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- nutmeg – I grated some whole nutmeg, 30 swipes across a fine microplane. The recipe called for 1/2 tsp. of ground nutmeg.
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lay a sheet of parchment paper over a 13″x9″ pan so that the excess lays across the long sides. Give the short sides a quick blast of non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the raisins and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the pan reaches a boil remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
- While the raisins cool measure out the dry ingredients and gently whisk to combine.
- Pour the cooled raisins & remaining water into a large bowl (use the one from your stand mixer if you have one). Add the vegetable oil, sugar and egg. Mix well to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the raisin mixture and stir to combine. Add the nuts and mix well.
- Pour the batter into the pan and use a spatula to spread the batter out evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan once half way through.
- Allow to cool, in the pan, on a rack for 5-10 minutes. Use the hanging parchement to lift the bars from the pan. Cool throughly before cutting.
Note – the recipe called for seedless raisins which we typically don’t have in the house. I suspected that any small dried fruit would work so I reached for the Zante currants. I actually reached for dried cherries first however they had gone missing.