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Chocolate Chip Fruit and Nut Bars

Chocolate Chip Fruit and Nut BarsThese fruitcake-like bars, chock-full of candied and dried fruits, nuts and chocolate chips, make a great gift for the holidays.

Recipe Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

VANILLA BUTTER FILLING:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Toppings:
1/2 cup chopped candied red or green maraschino cherries
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
  2. Beat butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until creamy.
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven. Do not turn oven off. Cool crust about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare VANILLA BUTTER FILLING; spread evenly over crust.
  6. For VANILLA BUTTER FILLING: Beat sugar, milk, butter, egg and vanilla in small bowl until smooth. Add flour, baking soda and salt; beat until well blended. Makes about 2/3 cup filling.
  7. Sprinkle cherries, apricots, raisins, chocolate chips and nuts over top. Return to oven.
  8. Bake 15 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Makes 36 bars.

Recipe and photograph courtesy of the Hershey Kitchens, and reprinted with permission of The Hershey Company. © The Hershey Company.