Raisin Pecan Spice Bars

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes one

    9 × 13 × 2 inch

    squares

Appears in

The best word to describe these bars is homey—they taste like someone’s grandmother made them. Tender, spiced, and full of old-fashioned molasses flavor, these are perfect for the holidays and throughout the cold weather. Feel free to adjust the raisins and pecans—you could add some golden raisins as part of the amount, or use all raisins or all pecans, depending on what you like.

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup mild-flavored molasses
  • cup sour cream
  • 1 cup dark raisins
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces/100 grams) pecan pieces, coarsely chopped
  • One 9 × 13 × 2-inch pan, buttered and lined fully (bottom and sides) with buttered parchment or foil

Method

  1. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Mix the flour with the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and set aside.
  3. Put the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the paddle on medium speed until lightened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition.
  5. Decrease the speed to low and beat in half of the flour mixture. Stop and scrape down the bowl and paddle.
  6. Beat in the molasses and sour cream, then the remaining flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to give a final mixing to the batter. Fold in the raisins and pecans.
  7. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until well risen and firm when pressed with a fingertip, 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. Cool in the pan on a rack.
  9. Invert onto a cutting board and peel away the foil. Trim the edges and use a long serrated knife to cut into 2-inch (5-cm) squares.

Storage

Keep the bars between sheets of wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. To freeze, don’t cut the bars apart, but wrap and freeze the entire baked cake, then cut it into squares after you remove it from the freezer.

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