A treasured treat my mom used to make every Christmas. I thought the recipe was lost, but it arrived in my mailbox just in time for the holiday this year. Since I lost my mom a few years ago, it was a particularly wonderful gift to receive. These are wonderfully tender, full of fruit, a little booze, and the spices of the season. Enjoy. —cheesypennies
Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Stir in the Calvados/brandy and let steep for 10-15 minutes, while you mix everything else up.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, and set that aside too.
In large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat until bubbling and beginning to turn brown. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the brown sugar with a large spoon or spatula. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat well by hand to combine.
Stir in the mincemeat, then add the flour mixture. Finally, drain the raisins, which should now be nice and plump and vaguely alcoholic, and stir those in at the end.
Spread the dough evenly the prepared pan (it will be quite thick), and then bake for 35 minutes. The center should spring back when touched, and the edges will be golden brown.
Cool completely in the pan, then give the bars a thorough dusting of powdered sugar. Cut into squares and serve.