February 12, 2022

HERITAGE RECIPE : Old-Fashioned Pineapple Bars

While going through the heritage book to make something today, I was actually looking for something specific--something vegan. Yes, vegan! I'm not vegan, but I've recently started experimenting with a plant-based diet for a couple of reasons--I'll write about this tomorrow. For now, the reason I chose this was because 1) It sounded good, and 2) It doesn't contain any animal products.

This recipe was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by Margaret Charlesworth. Margaret was born in 1924 and passed away at age 91 in 2016. She worked at the Rockwood Post Office until she married Robert in 1950 and became a "farm wife"--she cared for the cows, germinated seeds, and made sure Robert always knew the weather so he could predict how it would affect the crops. When they had children, she was a full-time homemaker and mother.

Margaret loved to sew and bake. She was actually known as "The Cookie Lady" in her town and was featured in the Monroe Evening News for her baking talent.

Her maiden name was Gay, and I knew I remembered writing about a couple (from a heritage recipe) who lived on a family farm with the last name Gay. After a search of my blog, I discovered that I shared a recipe for Devil's Food Cake from Betty Gay, who happened to be married to Margaret's brother, Samuel. So this recipe was submitted by Margaret, the sister-in-law of the woman who submitted the Devil's Food Cake recipe. (Like I said, Rockwood is a small town!)

I had high hopes for these pineapples bars, considering that they came from "The Cookie Lady!"

As always, I am writing this recipe here exactly as written in the cookbook; the "printer-friendly" version is rewritten by me to include any notes that may need to be in there for clarity. I always make these recipes exactly as they were submitted to the cookbook--no alterations or substitutions. Make sure you check my notes after the recipe.

Here is a printer-friendly version!

Old-Fashioned Pineapple Bars

Mix in Bowl:
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. Crisco
1 c. oatmeal
2/3 drained crushed pineapple
1 T. pineapple juice

Mix by hand until well blended. Spread in greased 7x11-inch pan. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Cool 20 minutes. Frost with 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of pineapple juice. Cut into squares.

My Notes:

The ingredients are very straight forward. Nothing to mention there.

I mixed the first four ingredients (by hand) in the bowl first, then added the rest. It was kind of hard to mix in (it was thick and and there were big clumps of Crisco). I kept mixing though until the clumps of Crisco were gone. I actually thought it resembled canned tuna fish! (The stringiness of the pineapple and the color of the oats made it look that way.

It was kind of hard to spread around the pan because it was very sticky. It felt like a very sticky cookie dough. You may want to oil your hands a bit first to keep it from sticking to your hands while you spread it around the bottom of the pan.

Don't forget to reserve the juice (a minimum of 2 Tbsp.) when you drain the pineapple! I wasn't really sure how well to drain the pineapple--with something like tuna, I squeeze it very hard to get as much liquid out as possible. With this, I didn't want to go overboard, but I didn't want it to be very watery, either, so I just lightly pressed on the pineapple in the strainer before measuring out 2/3 cup of the fruit for the recipe.

I baked it for exactly 25 minutes, as specified, and it looked great when it came out of the oven!

While it was in the oven, I made the frosting. I just added a tablespoon of the pineapple juice to the powdered sugar to make a glaze-like frosting. At first, I couldn't get all of the powdered sugar mixed in with such little liquid. I added about 1/2 tsp more and it worked. This is the texture it made--thicker than I thought (it wasn't pourable--it was thick and needed to be spread around)

I set the timer for 20 minutes when I pulled it out of the oven, and after 20 minutes, I spread the frosting all over it. It was actually the perfect amount of frosting/glaze!

I started to cut into it but it was really sticking to my knife, Then I realized I should probably wait until it was completely cool. So I set it into the fridge to allow it to cool quickly.

A couple of hours later, it cut MUCH more easily. I cut it into 12 squares.

At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about them. I thought they were a bit bland--I didn't get a pineapple flavor at all. The texture was pretty dry and somewhat crumbly. I only took one bite and just left it alone after that. However, a few hours later, I took another bite, this time at room temperature--and I really liked it that time. The flavor is very subtle-and definitely not too sweet--so if you're looking for a light dessert, this may be a good choice. The texture is kind of a cross between cake and oatmeal cookies.

My family reported the same thing when they ate them; they the bars weren't anything to rave about, but they were okay. I don't think I'd make them again. But for an unintentionally vegan recipe, I was surprised at how well they turned out!

If you're curious about the nutrition info: one square has 144 calories, 1 gram protein, 15.5 grams carbs, and 9 grams of fat.

I'm going to look through the book and see if there are any of her cookie recipes!

1 comment:

  1. I have been considering eating plant based myself. Strictly in hopes of improving my health. I have hypothyroidism & Crohn's and would like to feel better. I am looking forward to your post tomorrow.


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