Normally I find Martha Stewart recipes to be unnecessarily complicated and then don't even taste that good, but this one was an exception. I'm in the process of moving, so baking hasn't been on my agenda AT ALL. But I've been trying to use up ingredients, and this one took care of some of the more expensive items: currants, coconut, and butter. I'd already packed my measuring cups and spoons, and all my baking pans, so I had to improvise and all measurements are approximate. I also cut the recipe in half, and I reduced the sugar.
Here's what I used, resulting in 1 dozen bars:
1/4 cup Myers's Rum
1/2 cup currants
1 stick (8 ounces) salted butter
about 8 drops orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
3/8 cup unsweetened coconut powder (see note)
Soak the currants in the rum overnight, or cheat and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then allow to cool. They should be plump. Drain and reserve 1 tablespoon of the rum. Drink the rest.
Heat the oven to 325 F. Cream the butter and the sugar, then add the extracts and the reserved rum, blending in between additions. Add the flour in three portions, blending between additions. Stir in the currants and the coconut. Spread into a 8" x 6" baking pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes until the top is slightly firm and the edges have started to brown. Cool in pan.
Reading the comments in the original recipe, a lot of people had trouble with this recipe, and in particular they said it needed more flour. Admittedly, I ended up with a sort of batter; it was a good thing I had already intended to bake these in a pan rather than as cookies on a sheet, so it wasn't a problem. But the bars were fairly soft, so I can see something needs to be done about the texture if you wanted to make cookies. Adding flour would dilute the rich flavor, but the only other option really is to reduce the liquid, which also reduces the flavor. Perhaps a combination. Or perhaps chill the batter slightly to make it more manageable and THEN roll it into a log. It's worth figuring out how to make these work, because the flavor was terrific.
Conclusion: Delicious! These tasted like Christmas pudding. The edges were especially tasty because they had that browned-butter flavor. Individually cut cookies would provide more of that than the bar form.
Recipe: Rum-Raisin Shortbread Cookies via Martha Stewart