Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Whiskey Raisin Oatmeal Bars

Raisins soaked in warm whiskey will plump up nicely, absorbing quite a bit of the liquid, thereby adding a sweet touch of whiskey flavor to every bite of these chewy oatmeal cookie bars. Top them with a glaze made from the leftover raisin-y whiskey for extra oomph. 

The Irish are known for a few things including, wrongly or rightly, the talent and skill to make great whiskey and a propensity drink it in prodigious quantities. Also, Irish oats seem to come up a lot online when one is researching Irish baked goods. When our illustrious Creative Cookie Exchange leader, Laura from The Spiced Life, suggested that we think ahead to St. Patrick’s Day for this month’s Drunken Cookies theme, I decided to find a way to combine the two without just baking drunk. Although that option had the allure of a personal challenge, I was thinking it wasn't quite what Laura had in mind.

My Drunk Kitchen, anyone?  **objectionable language warning for the sensitive**

I promise I did not drink a drop while baking these. The shot that accompanies the photos was purely for quality control. Someone had to do it.

For the cookies:
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed or 150g dark brown sugar
1/4 cup or 50g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup or 125g flour
1 1/2 cups or 120g oats
1 cup or 170g raisins of your choice (Optional: extra for decorating)
1/2 cup or 120ml Irish whiskey (I used Bushmill’s. Not a whiskey drinker? Sub apple juice.)

Optional - For the glaze:
1 tablespoon leftover whiskey from raisin soaking
Icing sugar
Pinch salt

Warm your whiskey briefly in the microwave and pour it over the raisins in a small bowl.

Allow to soak at least one hour. If you have the raisins in a microwaveable bowl, you can gently warm them once more during that time. Stir them occasionally. Mine soaked up a little more than half the whiskey. The golden ones plumped up better than the dark ones.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Prepare an 8-inch or cm square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, blend together butter, sugars, egg, salt, and cinnamon until smooth.

Add in the flour and mix well.

Drain the raisins, reserving the leftover whiskey, and add them to the bowl, along with oats. Stir until just combined.

Spread the soft dough out into your prepared pan. I like to put a piece of cling film on top and use my hands to get the dough nice and even, even into the corners.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Cool the bars completely in the pan and then remove the whole square with the parchment paper. Use a great big knife to cut it into 18 bars.

If you want to make the glaze, put your whiskey in a small bowl and add a tiny pinch of salt. Add icing sugar a few spoonfuls at a time and stir well after each addition, until you are happy with the consistency.

Put a spoonful on each of the cooled cookie bars and spread it around a little with the back of the spoon.

Decorate with a few more raisins while the glaze is still soft.  Allow the glaze to set before trying to stack or transport them.

Wouldn't these be great with a tot of whiskey or, if that's not your cup of tea, perhaps a cup of tea?


If you are looking for a great way to add alcohol to your baked goods - and, really, who isn’t? – check out these great cookie recipes.

If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

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