Recipe: Sour Cream-Raisin Bars

updated Jan 21, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

After getting a craving for these bars a few weeks ago, we couldn’t rest until we’d found a recipe and made ourselves a big batch! If sour cream and raisins sound like a strange combination to you, just trust your Midwestern cousins – these bars will be gone before you can say “potluck dinner.”

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

For this recipe, I have to give a shout-out to two special people. One is Kitchn reader greenandlean, who scoured her grandmother’s cookbook for this bar recipe and graciously shared it with us.

The other is my own grandmother, who I’m pretty sure has been holding out on me all the times I’ve asked about the recipe in the past. After one final plea, I received her recipe in the mail. And guess what – it was nearly identical to greenandlean’s! Maybe our grandmothers went to the same church.

I made a few tweaks here and there and the result is just as good as I remember it: creamy tangy filling with chewy raisins and a crisp cookie crust. Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Sour Cream Raisin Bars
Makes one 9×13 pan of bars

2 cups raisins
1 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup butter, softened
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups sour cream

Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Allow them to plump while preparing the crust and filling.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, and baking soda. Blend the butter in small gobs, stirring as little as possible until the butter is evenly distributed throughout. Scoop out 1 1/2 cups of the topping and set it aside. Pat the rest of the topping into the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and sour cream in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until slightly thickened. The sauce will pop slowly, but if it boils more rapidly, turn down the heat. Drain the raisins and stir them into the sour cream mixture.

Pour the sour cream and raisin filling over the baked crust. Bake for another 15 minutes until the edges are set but the middle is still very jiggly. Crumbled the rest of the oatmeal mixture over the top of the bars and bake for another 15 minutes. The bars will still wobble a bit in the middle (like firm pudding), but will set more firmly as they cool.

Allow to cool fully before cutting into bars. Enjoy!

(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)