I found the recipe for Poor Man's Cookie Bars in my Mom's recipe file. It was typed on an index card. I don't know where it came from originally. I don't recall Mom making them, but it doesn't mean she didn't. The recipe looked really good, so I thought I'd give it a try. They are delicious!
Poor Man's Cookie Bars are similar to a spice cake. The cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg flavors are reminiscent of autumn. These cookie bars are delicious served in the fall, or at your Thanksgiving meal. They are delicious anytime of the year. Poor Man's Cookie Bars are good for dessert or a nice breakfast treat. They are delicious with a nice hot cup of tea!
First, boil raisins in water with shortening and sugar. The raisins soften and plump up quite a bit during the boiling process. You will end up with a sweet, sugary syrup. Allow the syrup to cool before adding it to the rest of the ingredients so that the egg doesn't start to cook. Spread the batter in a prepared 9x13 pan. Mom's recipe called for spreading the batter onto a 9x13 edged cookie sheet, but I used a glass 9x13 casserole dish. The cookie bars baked fine in the glass casserole dish.
Mom's recipe calls for walnuts. I've made the recipe with walnuts as well as pecans. Both work well. This recipe is dairy-free, so I didn't make any substitutions.
The batter is thicker than cake batter but not as thick as cookie dough. Spread the batter evenly in the baking dish.
Mom's recipe listed the baking time as 10-15 minutes. It takes 20-25 minutes for the cookie bars to completely bake for me. You may want to start checking the cookie bars for around 12 minutes or so to see if they are done. Then, continue to bake and check every few minutes until a pick inserted into the cookie bars comes out clean.
Poor Man's Cookie Bars are a good recipe to make to take to a party because they are delicious but it always makes a lot of servings. If the recipe makes more cookie bars than you can eat within a few days, freeze some for later. I freeze cookies in either zip close freezer bags or plastic freezer containers.
The cookie bars are not too sweet. If you preferred a sweeter dessert, you can frost them with a brown sugar or powdered sugar icing.
I hope you enjoy Poor Man's Cookie Bars!
Poor Man's Cookie Bars
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup lard or shortening I use shortening.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 jumbo egg
- 1 cup chopped walnuts I sometimes use pecans.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Spray a 9x13 edged baking sheet or casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Put the water in a large saucepan, add the raisins, then bring to a boil.
- Add the lard or shortening to the boiling water.
- Add sugar to the boiling water.
- Boil for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove from heat and let cool 10-15 minutes.
- In a small container, beat the egg. Set aside.
- Sift or whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
- Pour the cooled raisin mixture into the large bowl with the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just moistened. The batter will be like paste.
- Add the egg and chopped walnuts (or pecans) to the raisin mixture and stir with the wooden spoon until just moistened.
- Spread the batter on the prepared baking sheet or casserole dish.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until deeply browned and a pick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Mom's recipe showed the baking time as 10-15 minutes. It took 20-25 in my oven. You might want to start checking to see if the cookie bars are done around 12 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature before serving.
- Store leftovers at room temperature.