Snickerdoodle Bars This Time

It must be the cinnamon sugar that makes this a snickerdoodle relative. We offered up snickerdoodles, the cookie, about a month ago, and that prompted Ruth Thurston in Machias, who often shares her recipes here, to send along a currant-studded cake-like bar with a topping of cinnamon sugar baked into a buttery glaze. Some good. And it makes a generous amount, too, unfortunately for me who can’t indulge as I used to; I took a plateful to Selectman’s meeting last evening and unloaded them on a fellow board member who has kids.

Ruth’s recipe suggested adding chopped walnuts to the topping, and I did that, but I don’t think I would again. I really prefer that plain hit of sugar and cinnamon. The recipe also suggested that either currants or raisins would work, but in a bar like this, I think the smaller currants are a better idea. A plump raisin is too much of a lump in the middle of everything for me, though you might like that. I certainly wouldn’t go out and buy currants on purpose only for this recipe, because all you need is a half a cup, though I think next time I might sneak a few more in.

Currants are part of my regular pantry supply, along with raisins. Historically, currants were used in savory dishes, and I add them to curries, braised chicken, and grain salads like rice, quinoa, or wheat berry. I enjoy the tiny little burst of sweetness they add.

Ruth’s directions called for a jelly roll pan. I don’t have an official jelly roll pan, so I baked my bars in a roasting pan about ten by thirteen inches, and the bars turned out an inch thick. If you use a nine by twelve pan you’ll get a thicker bar, and it might take a few minutes longer to bake. Cut them maybe an inch square, and if someone really likes them, they can take two.

Snickerdoodle Bars

Cake Layer

½ to 1/3 cup currants or raisins

1 cup water

½ cup butter

¾ cups sugar

1 egg

Currant liquid plus milk to make 1 cup

2 ¼ cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt


½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

7 tablespoons butter, melted

Finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Simmer the currants in the water until they plump up. Drain, reserve the water and allow it to cool, and spread the currants in a pan to allow them to cool, too. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour the baking pan. Cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the egg. Add milk to the currant liquid until you have one cup; then add that to the egg, butter and sugar mixture. Whisk or sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and add them and beat; then add the currants. Spread evenly in the pan.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Pour the melted butter over the surface of the cake, and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over it. Add the optional nuts. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the center is set and a tester inserted comes out clean

Makes up to two dozen servings.

Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.