Cut small, soft gumdrops into 4 to 5 pieces each. (Do not use licorice-flavored candies.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sift flour with baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. Place shortening, brown sugar, egg and vanilla into large bowl. Use an electric mixer set at medium speed to beat mixture until light and fluffy.
Add half the flour mixture and the evaporated milk and beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour mixture until well combined. Add gumdrops and coarsely chopped walnuts (or pecans), mixing well. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove pan to wire rack and cool partially. Cut into bars while still warm. Sprinkle lightly with sifted confectioner's sugar. Yield: about 20 bars.