For Filling: Combine raisins and water in small saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer until all water is evaporated. Cool and process in food processor or blender until smooth paste. Set aside to cool. (See Chef’s Note below for other ways to prepare Filling).
For Bars: A day or two ahead, oil a 9X13-inch jelly roll pan or line it with parchment paper; set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Then, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in work bowl of food processor or mixer. Mix together. In small bowl, beat egg to combine thoroughly. Measure 2 tablespoons beaten egg into a second small bowl, reserve any remaining egg in first bowl. Then, combine measured egg in second small bowl with oil, and mix together; add to dry ingredients and process or mix or pulse until crumbly. In same small bowl, mix 4 tablespoons water with vinegar and add to dry ingredients, a little at a time, adding additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed; process or mix after each addition until dough forms ball and cleans the sides of bowl.
Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead together until smooth. Divide into two equal balls. Roll out one ball to 9X13-inch rectangle; fold in half and arrange flat on bottom of prepared pan. Make diagonal cuts about 1 inch apart from outer edges to within 1-3/4 inches of fold at center. Open and spread dough flat; then, spread one-half of Raisin Filling evenly down center. To make braid, fold and overlap strips of dough from alternate sides of filling. Repeat with remaining dough and filling to make 2 braids. Brush generously with reserved egg and bake at 375°F for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and done.
Cool; cut each braid into 12 bars and store in airtight container at least 24 hours before serving.
Chef’s Notes: Raisin Filling may also be prepared by procesing 1-1/2 cups raisins with 6 tablespoons of water in a food processor until smooth. OR combine 1-1/2 cups raisins with 6 tablespoons water and soak overnight before processing, if time allows.
- 11/2 Cups California raisins
- 3/4 Cup water
- 21/2 Cups all-purpose four
- 1/3 Cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 Tablespoons water, divided
- 1 egg, beaten and divided
- 11/4 Teaspoons distilled white vinegar