Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anti-Fruitcake Bars

How many people do you know actually likes fruitcake? My husband does, the only one I've ever known to eat it and relish it. I've wondered more than once if I could make a fruit cake that isn't made from artificially colored over processed dried fruit, and perhaps more wholesome altogether. So when he brought home dried persimmon and golden raisins from the farmers market this weekend, I felt that this was my time to act while the holidays raged on all around me.

Today I found he took the raisins with him to work, but I still had several dried fruits in the pantry. Anyway it was the dried persimmon that intrigued me anyway. Looking at fruit cake recipes I noticed they took several eggs. Then I happened on a bar cookie that originally was supposed to have jam spread on top. I used the same ingredients but added 1 cup of walnuts and 1 cup of mixed dried fruit, however, the mixture was now a little dry. What to do about a binder? My brother looked over my shoulder and told me to put in some treacle, better known as molasses. It worked like a dream! These cookies are incredibly wholesome, dense and sweetly delicious. Let these bars replace all those mass produced granola or energy bars in your lunch boxes from now on.

Anti-Fruitcake Bars 

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole grain rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup dried dates
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup chopped dried persimmons
1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)
2 tablespoons molasses

Combine all the dry ingredients, including the walnuts and dry fruit. Feel free to play with the dried fruit combination. Then melt the margarine before adding it to the dry mixture. Add the molasses and stir only until just combined. Press into a 8x9 greased square baking pan or into two loaf pans sprayed with oil, as I did because I gave away my square pan at some pot luck long forgotten. (Why do I never remember to replace it?) Bake at a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars.

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