Monday, December 1, 2014

Fruit & Nut Bars #HolidayFoodParty

I am a huge fan of the slightly squidgy, rich brown sugar cookies on Christmas dessert trays. To me, a hermit, Lassy Mog or chewy ginger drop far and away beats out the intricate lace or iced sugar cookies out there, bested only by the classic chewy chocolate chipper or my mom's shortbreads. The richness of fruit, nuts and brown sugar just somehow works with the winter holidays unlike anything else.

The only issue I have with the softer cookie clan is that they are intensely difficult to ship or transport intact - even more so when they're packed with additions to the hilt. Holiday cookies are also always made in giant batches, which takes more time and energy than I usually have by the time December  rolls around. My solution? Bang the dough into a brownie pan and bake it that way - yes, it takes a little more time in the oven, but there's less cleanup, risk of burning and falling apart, not to mention you can just pack them - pan and all - to your next gathering. Bars are also easier to shove in stuff with additions, generally being a bit thicker. The thickness basically guarantees that squidgy, chewy goodness I crave too!

While I can't say I'll be giving up cut-out or drop cookies completely from my repertoire this holiday season, I do know that a pan of these rich brown sugar bars filled with dates, raisins, salted nuts and spelt flour will always be in my back pocket. Call it a little Christmas cheer for the cook - especially if you soak the fruit in your favourite tipple first!

Fruit & Nut Bars

Check out the good for this festive #HolidayFoodParty below!

  1. Chocolate Peppermint Bark from Cravings of a Lunatic
  2. Buche de Noel from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
  3. Cranberry Moscow Mule from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
  4. Chocolate Gingerbread Crumb Cake from Hungry Couple
  5. Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Frosting from Jen's Favorite Cookies
  6. Apres Ski Boozy Tea from Pineapple and Coconut
  7. Raspberry Almond Torte from Magnolia Days
  8. Fruit and Nut Bars from What Smells So Good

As always, many many thanks to Jen for putting this together!

Fruit & Nut Bars
Makes one 8" pan, 16 pieces
2 eggs
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
½ tbsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
½ cup spelt flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped, pitted dates
½ cup raisins
1 cup roasted, salted chopped nuts (your favourite kind or a mix - walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios are all great)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F, line an 8” square pan
  2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until light.
  3. Add the sugar, vanilla and citrus zests, beating well.
  4. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until combined, then fold in the fruit and nuts.
  5. Pour into the pan, smoothing the top.
  6. Bake 35 minutes. Cool completely in the pan.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 118.8
Total Fat: 5.1 g
Cholesterol: 23.3 mg
Sodium: 68.8 mg
Total Carbs: 18.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 3.1 g

Don't forget to enter my Gay Lea Coconut Whipped Cream giveaway! A dollop of that would top off any of this party's creations perfectly!