Dried apricots, figs and dates make these Gold Rush Bars a suitable replacement for the oft-maligned fruit cake. Photography courtesy WMMB.
Christmas Cookie Recipes
Page 3: Bananas Foster Bars And Gold Rush Bars
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Bananas Foster Bars
Bananas Foster is a dessert that’s synonymous with New Orleans—the place where it was created. This recipe takes all those great flavors—the rum, the bananas and, of course, the butter—and transforms them into a bar cookie that’s sure to make any dessert plate a hit. Recipe yields
16 2-inch bars.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon dark rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup bananas, diced
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon rum or pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- For the bars, preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour 9-inch square pan, or for a thicker bar, use an 8-inch square pan.
- In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and rum; mix to combine.
- In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to butter mixture. Mix in bananas and pecans; stir to incorporate.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the frosting, in large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar and extract with an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar; blend until smooth (careful; over-mixing will cause separation). Add additional confectioners’ sugar to create desired consistency.
- Spread frosting immediately over cooled bars. Cover and store bars in refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, cut bars into 2-inch squares.
Gold Rush Bars
When early settlers came to California, they found more than just gold. They found soil and a climate suited for growing figs, dates and apricots. These regional ingredients shine in all of their glory in this buttery and ever-so-slightly chewy cookie bar.
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sweet white dessert wine, such as Muscat or Late Harvest Riesling
- 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup (4 ounces) walnuts, chopped
- Confectioners’ sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Line 13x9x2-inch pan with foil; butter bottom of foil. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- In small saucepan, heat wine over medium heat until bubbles begin to form at edge. Add apricots, figs and dates; stir and return to a boil. Cover pan, turn off heat and allow to steep 30 minutes until liquid is absorbed; cool.
- Cream together butter and sugars using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then extracts; mix until combined. Gradually add flour mixture; stir well.
- Spread half of batter over bottom of prepared pan using a buttered, metal spatula. Spread cooled fruit evenly over dough. Drop spoonfuls of remaining batter over fruit layer and gently spread to cover. Sprinkle walnuts over top.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and center is set. Cool pan on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Lift foil to remove bars from pan; cut into diamond shapes. Store bars in airtight container for up to 1 week.
Continue To Page 4: Chocolate Butter Pecans And Mount Rainier Macaroons
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