Old-Fashioned Raisin Bars

raisin bars 4

About a week ago I got onto the subject of church lady food – finger sandwiches and dainties of the I remember the small group of elderly ladies assembling on trays for my grandma’s funeral out in Ontario years ago, and I imagine have done on many occasions since – and it was decided that we should have a church lady-style wake for David Bowie. It was a pretty great way to spend a snowy Saturday night in late January.

Bowie wake 2

Late last year we assembled a sort of a cookbook club and called it Bite Club – it’s like traditional book club, only with food and cookbooks – isn’t the food the best part of book club anyway? So that was the group who came and brought egg and ham salad with pickles and mayo and the crusts cut off, cherry-cream cheese pinwheels, funeral potatoes, custard and lemon and Bakewell tarts, cookies and Shepherd’s pie and gingerbread, and an enormous tight pants peanut butter pie in homage to the Goblin King (and in reference to the state of our own post-pie pants).

Bowie wake 1

We made a cocktail – an enormous jar of it – of Pimm’s, ginger ale and loads of sliced oranges and limes and called it the Golden Years. There’s no reason Pimm’s should be limited to its summery cup, decked out with strawberries and cucumbers – citrus is in season and at its best, and gin-based, herbal Pimm’s pairs perfectly with it.

golden years cocktail

I went a little bar-happy with date squares (known in my grandma’s cookbooks as Matrimonial slice, which is kind of the opposite of funerals, but let’s just go with it), Nanaimo bars, marshmallow confetti squares and these old-fashioned raisin bars my grandma used to make, which are really like butter tart squares with a slightly tweedy oatmeal base, and are easy to serve in lieu of funeral pie – a brown sugar and raisin pie that was probably made in the bleak midwinter when there was no fresh fruit about, which is likely why no one seems to make it anymore.

raisin bars

These aren’t quite as gooey as a (proper) butter tart, but could be more so if you were to replace some of the brown sugar with Roger’s golden syrup (my preference to corn syrup) or even maple syrup. And if you’re a no-raisins-in-my-tarts kind of person, go ahead and swap pecans, which would make these akin to pecan pie bars. And here’s a tip: if you freeze any kind of sticky-topped bar first, they cut much more cleanly – and thaw in a few minutes on the countertop.

Raisin bars 5

Old-Fashioned Raisin Bars

AuthorJulie

Base:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
Topping:
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1- 1 1/2 cups raisins

1

Preheat oven to 350°F.

2

In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend with a fork or your fingers (or pulse in the food processor) until well combined and crumbly. Press into the bottom of a parchment-lined 8x8-inch pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, until pale golden around the edges.

3

In the same bowl (no need to wash it) stir together the brown sugar and flour. Add the eggs, butter and vanilla and stir until well blended and smooth. Stir in the raisins and pour over the base.

4

Bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden and set around the edges but still just slightly jiggly in the middle. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

5

Makes 12 bars or 16 squares.

Ingredients

 Base:
 1/2 cup oats
 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
 1/4 tsp. baking powder
 pinch salt
 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
 Topping:
 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
 2 large eggs
 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
 1 tsp. vanilla
 1- 1 1/2 cups raisins

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 350°F.

2

In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend with a fork or your fingers (or pulse in the food processor) until well combined and crumbly. Press into the bottom of a parchment-lined 8x8-inch pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, until pale golden around the edges.

3

In the same bowl (no need to wash it) stir together the brown sugar and flour. Add the eggs, butter and vanilla and stir until well blended and smooth. Stir in the raisins and pour over the base.

4

Bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden and set around the edges but still just slightly jiggly in the middle. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

5

Makes 12 bars or 16 squares.

Old-Fashioned Raisin Bars
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9 comments on “Old-Fashioned Raisin Bars

  1. Susan Price
    January 26, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    These look delicious. Does it matter whether you make them with quick cooking or slow cooking oats?

    • Julie
      February 7, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      Either would work – just not instant! 🙂

  2. Betty C
    January 26, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Everything was as delicious as it looks!

  3. Avery
    January 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    These were fantastic! All of the bars and tarts and sandwiches and cookies were great. I kind of forgot the bringing-the-cookbook part, though! Will have to remember that for next time…

  4. Circle Bars
    December 22, 2016 at 6:21 am

    These look delicious. It does not matter Quick cooking or slow cooking ?

  5. Baking with Love Makes a Difference
    December 26, 2018 at 11:39 am

    I am looking for an old HEB recipe called raisin bars that they store baked I think between 1972 and 1980. Can anyone help?

  6. Dee
    January 30, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Just GREAT THANKS ALOT

  7. Ian Harrison
    April 18, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Just made one, it looks and smells delicious!

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