This post will find us about half way through 1/3 of the month of September. Or 1/6th of the way through the ninth month of the year, which makes us 3/4th of the way through 2012. Which when I put it in terms of fractions…it kinda boggles my mind. And it isn’t the math ( I swear).
And when time and fractions boggle my brain…when I feel like I am spinning and time is flying and I need to apply the brakes and slow this bus down…when I need a bit of a breather…when I need to take a bit of time and take it all in …. When I am in this mindset, I don’t venture into the kitchen and challenge myself with a new recipe or a difficult technique. It just isn’t going to happen. Nor do I need it to happen. What I need is something familiar. An old favorite. A recipe, an ingredient, a flavor, a texture, a smell….anything that will force me to stop, force me to apply those brakes, and slow down.
I don’t know about you, but I am always pulled back to the tastes and smells of my childhood. Nothing can stop me faster than the smell of ground beef and onions cooking on the stove top. Or pancakes and bacon. Or toast. Or cinnamon. Cinnamon always does it. No matter where I am or what I am doing…I find myself taking a breath. Breathing in and breathing out. Taking a moment to be in the moment. Being present. Applying those brakes.
Last week, with the approach of Labor Day and the end of summer nearing and my mind being blown by the speed of which time is flying by, I turned to my recipe binder that contained many of my favorite recipes from my childhood. Individual pages from a cookbook, handwritten on index cards or post-it notes, typewritten on aged yellow paper, etc…
With these raisin bars, I didn’t just happen upon this recipe, but went in search for it. It was one that I knew I had scribbled down on a half piece of notebook paper about 5 years ago. I remember writing it down. My grandma was still living at home and my mom answered the phone when I called for the recipe. Grandma, with a bit of help from mom, spouted of the recipe as I quickly jotted down measurements and baking time. I safely tucked the recipe into my binder, always there and ready when I need a taste of my childhood. When I need to smell cinnamon. When I need to breath.
Now, grandma did not serve her grandchildren bourbon. Swear. I added the bourbon. I serve people bourbon. It is one of those main differences between me and my grandma. Besides the gray hair and wrinkles.
- ¼ Cup White Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
- ¾ Cup Water
- ¼ Cup Bourbon
- 2 Cups Raisins
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Cup Butter ( one stick), room temperature
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 + ½ Cup All – Purpose Flour
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 + ½ Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- 1 Cup Pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 + ½ Cups Powdered Sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons Milk
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine white sugar, corn starch, water, bourbon, raisins, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
- Bring mixture to a slow boil and cook until mixture has thickened and is no longer cloudy, but clear ( about 3 to 5 minutes). Stir mixture often, making sure the bottom is not scorching.
- Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the crust.
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 13inch pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
- With mixer on slow, beat in dry ingredients.
- Stir in oats, chopped pecans, and 1 tablespoon of water. (mixture will seem very dry and crumbly)
- Press about ½ of mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Evenly spread raisin filling over the crust.
- Stir remaining crust mixture with another 1 tablespoon of water and evenly spread over raisin filling, gently pressing down.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before drizzling with icing.
- To prepare icing, whisk together powdered sugar, cinnamon, and milk.