Monday, September 17, 2007

Fruit Bars

Some of you may call these Hermit Bars, but in my family they're fruit bars. When I was young, treats from the bakery were a rare treat. I remember helping my mom unpack the groceries, not just because I wanted to help but also to get my hands on whatever treats my mom may have slipped in the cart. In a family of nine, the competition was fierce, and only rarely did I fish out a bag of dry iced oatmeal cookies or tiny sack of bridge mix destined for my mom's sock drawer. One of the best treats I remember was a package of soft, iced fruit bars from the store bakery. It took some convincing to eat one, since one pack contained only six or eight bars.

I've found a recipe that comes pretty close to those bars. They're moist with molasses and chopped fruit.

Fruit Bars
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 plus 2 T. (4 oz.) shortening
4 T. unsalted butter
1/4 c. (3 oz.) molasses
3/4 t. salt
3/4 t. allspice
3/4 t. cinnamon
1 3/4 t. baking soda
2 lg. eggs
5 c. cake flour
1/3 c. water
2 c. chopped raisins, dates, currants, or other dried fruit in any combination.

Glaze: 3 T. milk mixed with 1 c. powdered sugar.

Cream together sugar, shortening and butter. Add molasses, salt, spices, and baking soda. Mix for 1 minute, then scrape down bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half the flour and mix in. Add the water, mix, and then the other half of the flour. Add chopped fruit. Spread in greased 10 x 15 jelly roll pan and bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes. (I run my hands under cold water and press the dough in the pan.) Be careful not to overbake. When cool, drizzle with glaze.

Note: You could substitute all-purpose flour if that's all you have. 1 cup cake flour equals 1 cup all-purpose flour (preferably bleached) minus 2 tablespoons, and then add in 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Also, I like to plump up the dried fruit by covering it with 1 c. hot water then covering the dish for a few minutes. Then I use the soaking liquid for the water called for in the recipe. Depending on the dryness of your flour, you could increase the water to 1/2 c.


Davis Strong Family said...

It's time for a new post Cathy...thanksgiving is on it's way and I need some good ideas. :) LOL I also want to see and hear all about England!!!!

recipefinder said...

I write a column for the Baltimore sun newspaper called the RecipeFinder. I have a reader looking for a recipe for Molasses fruit bars and I like the way your recipe sounds. I would like to run it in my column. If you give me your permission as well as your full name and hometown I will be sure to credit you for the recipe.