Dried fruit has a long and illustrious history. It is one of the earliest methods of food preservation, and has been used for millennia in the regions of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. (Date palms were one of the first cultivated trees, and became economically important in the Ancient Near East.) Dried fruits have a very long shelf life and retain most of their nutritive value after drying, making them a stable and desirable source of food. They also have bioactive properties important for maintaining nutritional health and preventing chronic illness.
The recipe for Brandied Almond Fruit Bars has been in my box for many years. It has been altered significantly from the original and tinkered with endlessly. A few years ago it finally settled to its current form with which I am greatly pleased. These are delicious, nutritious and beautiful to behold. Enjoy!
Brandied Almond Fruit Bars
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 c. flour
¾ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
½ tsp. vanilla
½ c. flour
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. golden raisins or sultanas
1 c. dried cherries
1 c. snipped apricots
1 c. raisins
¼ c. apricot brandy
1 c. sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and set aside.
To prepare the crust: In a medium-sized bowl beat the brown sugar and butter until pale and light. Scrape the bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix until crumbly. Use your fingers to finish the dough. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
Scrape the fruit mixture into the pan on top of the crust and spread evenly.
Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and fruit is set and beginning to brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Score and cut into 1 inch squares. Store in a wax paper lined airtight container for up to two weeks. Separate layers with waxed paper.