At this point you might be "fussed-out" from rolling, cutting, decorating, and eating fancy cookies during the December baking season. These Raisin Pecan Spice Bars are a perfect January treat: they are simple to throw together and their warm spices, nuts, and dried fruit make them very welcome if you're caught in deep winter's chilly grip.
- The recipe from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri. Since I am a (very lax) member of the The Modern Baker Challenge, and the group has agreed to not post the recipes baked from the book, I'm not including the recipe. I can give you a glimpse of the ingredient list, though: all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, butter, dark brown sugar, sugar, eggs, molasses, sour cream, raisins, and pecans.
- I couldn't find any sour cream in the fridge so I used yogurt.
- I stirred a mixture of golden and dark raisins into my batter.
- Chopped toasted pecans from Trader Joe's are a great time saver and give a wonderful nutty flavor in baked goods!
- Instead of one 9x13 pan, I baked the recipe in two 8x8 pans because I wanted to make sure the middle got baked through.
- My bars took 30 -35 minutes to bake, and were still quite moist inside, with a nice crackly top.
- I cut the bars small because they were going on a big platter of bar cookies and brownies.
These bars have a perfectly balanced combination of flavors. The raisins are a strong presence but blend beautifully with the spices and nuts. I like the way these bars round out a collection of bar cookies - they are great with blondies and brownies. On the other hand, they are strong enough to stand all by themselves. I'll turn to this recipe time and again for a versatile cool-weather cookie.
I have been enjoying the streamlined, delicious recipes from The Modern Baker. In fact I included the book as one of my favorites in my 2010 Cookbook Roundup and purchased three copies of the cookbook in hardcover: for me and for each of my daughters. If you don't have a copy, the book is now available at very reasonable cost in paperback! I was honored that Nick Malgieri recently sent a paperback copy of the book to each member of The Modern Baker Challenge.