April 5: National Raisin and Spice Bar Day

Today is National Raisin and Spice Bar Day. While they have a different name, I'm gonna say that these interesting bars fit the bill as they do contain raisins and spices: the "1812 Cookie Bar" by Matthews 1812 House


A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a mail-order cookie and cake company called Matthews 1812 House. They asked if I would like to try some of their goodies. Well, twist my arm why don't you. I requested the "1812 Cookie Bar", because it seemed like an interesting item, and one unlike anything else I had ever seen.

The description of the bars goes like so: "Tangy apricots, crunchy pecans and chocolate chips are mixed into a honey and brown sugar batter, then baked on a buttery shortbread crust. Finished with our own special browned butter icing, you'll find these bars truly amazing."

While not specifically mentioned in the description, raisins and spices are listed in the ingredients, which is why I find them appropriate for today's national food holiday.

Actually, more than appropriate. Because look at these things. They look crave-worthy, right? Especially on my new custom tray, by Bags of Love

They taste crave-worthy, too. I love a good bar cookie, and these are indeed a fine specimen. The cookie base is sturdy and flavorful, with just the right amount of salt, butter, and sweetness coming together. My darling one didn't care for the apricot, but I told him to shut up because I thought it was great, and I'm the one with a food blog, so I win, right? 

But really, for me, what brought these bars together was the browned butter frosting. I don't know if they sneak an elixir of addictiveness into it somehow, but I could eat this stuff with a spoon from a jar and be very happy. It gives the sweet frosting a depth of flavor that lasts on the tongue for several moments after you've taken a bite, in the best way possible. 

I won't lie, these bars are not cheap. A 6x9 tray (a bit smaller than a sheet of printer paper) is $32 plus shipping (I calculated to my home; the total cost would be $44 or so). But they are interesting, and very well made, and they were securely packaged and arrived fresh. So...if you feel like you want a unique, artisan treat, I would say they're worth it for a special occasion. 

Also, I thought the story of the company, which is based in Northwest Connecticut, was cute (right from their site), if not revealing about why the company has its unique name:

"Matthews 1812 House was started in 1979 in the family farmhouse by Blaine and Deanna Matthews. Named after the year the house was built, they started with two fruitcakes (and had two small children at the same time)! Soon there were baking racks in the hallways and people sorting apricots and pecans on the dining room table.

In 1991 the business moved to a dedicated facility just a mile from the farmhouse. With a carousel oven (yes, it rotates), and more room, they expanded from their line of specialty cakes into cookies, bars, and other mouth-watering baked goods."

Check out these bars and the full offerings of Matthews 1812 House here.