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 all-purpose 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
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-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 for 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 spoonsful of remaining batter over fruit layer and gently spread to cover.
- Sprinkle walnuts over top.
- Bake for 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.
Yield: 3 dozen bars
Recipe and photo used with permission from:
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin