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.
½ to 1/3 cup currants or raisins
1 cup water
½ cup butter
¾ cups sugar
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.