Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lemon Raisin Bars

Doesn't that lemon look huge? It was! Paul's had some mammoth lemons in the produce case! If you have more fresh lemon juice than you need for a recipe, juice the whole lemon, put the juice in a plastic bag and freeze until you need it for the next recipe.
Theoretically, finding recipes on the internet should cut down on paper clutter, right? Not at my house. If I'm interested in trying a recipe I find on a blog or on Facebook, I invariably print it off. That leaves me with piles of 81/2- by 11-inch pieces of paper.

I'd like to say they are all organized into a notebook. I bought a notebook. I bought page dividers. But I still don't have that mission accomplished.

A few weeks ago, I realized I had some forgotten recipe treasures sitting in my kitchen cabinet. As a 10-year-old 4-Her in Snacks and Little Lunches, I started collecting recipes in an ugly pink and green recipe box. The top doesn't close because it's stuffed to the brim with more recipes, and there's a little rust on the metal lid. But there are some tried-and-true recipes in there, some written in my meticulous 10-year-old cursive. (I lost the beautiful penmanship as a harried - and hurried - reporter!)
Not the actual recipe, but it shows my lovely recipe box and my meticulous cursive.
The recipe for Lemon Raisin Bars isn't that old, but it's one I got from my sister-in-law, Suzanne, several years ago. I'm usually attracted to chocolate. But this recipe has raisins, oatmeal and walnuts. That gives it a little redeeming value, right? (Until you read that they also have sweetened condensed milk. Ah well! It was a nice thought!)

Since I was using the bars for a cookie tray, I wanted to dress them up for the occasion with a little drizzle on top. Many times, I'll just melt white candy melts and use a decorator bag to zig-zag a design. This time, I made a frosting with butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar to give it a little extra zing. (No, I didn't measure - sorry!) But they are tasty "naked," too. 
Lemony Raisin Bars
From my sister-in-law Suzanne Moore
2 cups baking raisins
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In saucepan, combine raisins, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon rind. Cook and stir over medium heat just until bubbly; cool slightly. (You can also do this in the microwave.)

In bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla; beat well. Add flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and nuts.

Reserve 2 cups oat mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture into 13- by 9-inch prepared pan. Spread raisin mixture on top of dough in pan. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Press lightly. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars. If desired, decorate the top with candy melts or a simple frosting made of butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar. That's certainly not necessary, but it does add visual appeal to a cookie tray.

Today, I'm linked to Wake Up Wednesday. Click on the link for more recipes from across the nation. (If I find something, I'll probably print it out ... sigh!)

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