Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Raspberry Bars with an attitude...

As I was planning out this week's menu Saturday night, I gave Jeff the option to shuffle through some sweet recipe stacks and see if any of the them sounded good to make for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day. I asked for one, but he came back with eight and said "Too overwhelming... here are some I randomly grabbed and I'll let you choose!". Welcome to my world - hee hee!

He did pick out some wonderful sounding treats and I ultimately pinned down these Raspberry Jam Bars with Macaroon Topping to make. Why these? Everything else I would have had to buy one or two things... but with this recipe, I had everything in the pantry. The jam? No problem... always have that. Lemon zest? Yup, always got a stash of at least 4 or 5 lemons worth in the freezer. Graham crackers? Check! Doesn't everyone dip theirs in Nutella or fluff and peanut butter for a snack?

On the bottom of these bars, you'll find a crumbly base made from ground graham crackers (honey this time - cinnamon would be groovy too), flour, granulated sugar, chunky bits of butter, bright lemon zest and a couple eggs to bind. The best part of this? All the work is done in the bowl of a food processor! When you combine this, it shouldn't be dough like - it should look more like damp sand. When you press it into the baking sheet, if it happens to be on the stickier side and you find yourself pulling it up, lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the top or wet your fingertips lightly to help you along. Once you've gotten that done, a thin layer of raspberry jam is worked over the top.

Base and jam layers done... just one final piece! To create the coconutty topping, butter and sugar are creamed together until they are light and fluffy. I added salt here since I used unsalted butter, but if you do opt to use salted, delete that out. Eggs are added, followed by a heavy bag of sweetened shredded coconut. Dollops of the macaroon mixture are dropped all over the top - try and cover the jam as best as you can, but don't strive for perfection. Let it be a little ragged and homey. Bake the bars until the top is set and the strips of coconut begin to take on an attractive golden tone.

Allow the pan to cool completely first, then set the bars into the refrigerator to chill down before you attempt to cut these. This will help firm them up and aid in getting cleaner slices. These can be on the richer side for some, so you could cut the bars into smaller, bite-sized pieces to stretch out the servings. We went with a slightly larger slabs though, so you could fully experience this fun treat and save a few bites for later if you wish!

I liked how the crust, with a light lemony zing, was firm enough that you could pick up the bars to eat them if you didn't want to dig out a fork and plate. The topping was sweet, slightly chewy and dense with coconut - a brilliant match with the sticky berry layer underneath. If you want to go take this over the top, drizzle to your hearts content with melted bittersweet chocolate for a decadent, showy finish.


  1. Well I had none of those ingredients hanging around, but I'll be getting them today to make these bars! They look sublime and I'll go with your idea of a chocolate drizzle...


  2. Do you think this would work with a thickened rhubarb sauce? We've got rhubarb in abundance at the moment.

  3. These sound wonderful! Can you believe we still have raspberries in the freezer from last summer. We had a bumper crop which is unusual for us. I keep thinking I should make it into jam. Then I could use it in bars!

  4. HOLY COW, Joe! These bars look over the top amazing! This is NOT making dinner tonight look very tempting. :(
    I'm gonna have to give these a try-raspberry and coconut are a winner of a combo in my book any day...

  5. Quinn - I really wavered about using that chocolate drizzle or not, but we do chocolate quite a bit for treats and figured I better leave it off for a change!

    Star - Maybe, as long as you can get it to a jam-like consistency.

    BB - Wow! How much did you end up to begin with?

    Carol - It is a combination I really enjoy too!

  6. Yum, Yum, Yum!!!

    I've copied the recipe and it is definitely one we will be trying this summer. We fell in love with a raspberry & white chocolate cheesecake bar recipe so this will be another great way to use the raspberry jam.

  7. Angela - I hope you come back and let us know what you think!