Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fruitcake Bars

(recipe from David Lebovitz)

6 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. packed, light or dark brown sugar
2 cups walnuts, almonds, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and coarsely chopped*
1 cup dried apricot halves, coarsely chopped*
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*Use any combination of dried fruits that strikes your fancy.  The dates really do make the recipe, but I've tossed in a scoop of dried sour cherries or cranberries, or candied ginger as well, with great results.  Just stick with the total quantities listed above.

Line an 8-inch square pan across the bottom and up the sides with two sheets of aluminum foil, making a big criss-cross with the sides overhanging.

Preheat the oven to 325F and position the rack in the center of the oven.

In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the brown sugar, walnuts, dates, and apricots.  Use your fingers to mix the fruit, and separate any pieces sticking together.

Beat the egg and vanilla in a small bowl, then mix it with the fruit and nut mixture until everything's coated with the batter.  Spread the mixture in the baking pan and press gently to even it out.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top of the bars are golden brown and has pulled away just-slightly from the sides of the pan.  Cool the bars in the pan, then lift out.

To cut the cooled bars, use a heavy sharp knife, such as a bread knife, for ensuring neat, clean slices.

Storage: The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

(I used 1 cup dates, 1 cup apricots, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries for my fruit combination.  For nuts, half walnuts, half pecans.  I also used coconut sugar instead of the brown sugar.  These bars are so good!  Not too sweet, like a little energy nugget.)

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