Sunday, June 23, 2013
Swedish Raspberry and Almond Bars
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Those of us who love to cook amass recipes the way Midas did gold. Despite efforts to contain them, our collections grow at an alarming rate. Tucked in among them, however, you'll usually find a handful of well-worn treasures that, having stood the test of time and taste, have been granted best of class status and become family favorites. The bar cookies I'm featuring today are in that category. They were originally the creation of an unknown Swedish housewife who, using a bit of butter and sugar, managed to produce a buttery cookie so memorable that its reputation crossed an ocean and entered the kitchens of the new world where they are still enjoyed today. I first had these cookies as a child when war time rationing forced them to be made with margarine. Margarine back then was an interesting affair. It came in a block that looked like lard. Each block contained a packet of coloring that was worked into it until it was uniformly yellow. Believe it or not, the job of mixing often fell to children who vied for the task. These cookies are so good that even margarine could not spoil them, but when they are made with butter they become an unforgettable treat. The base of the cookies is a shortbread that is covered with a layer of raspberry or apricot jam. The jam is covered with a meringue and is finished with a topping of sliced almonds. The recipe for the cookies, which appears below, comes from Taste of Home magazine. I add almond extract and a bit of salt to the shortbread, but other than that I stick with the recipe, which is foolproof. These bars are a personal favorite of mine and I highly recommend them to you. I know you'll enjoy them. Here is how they are made.
Swedish Raspberry and Almond Bars...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Taste of Home magazine
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 egg whites
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds, divided
Additional confectioners' sugar
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and mix well. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
2) Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
3) Spread jam over crust. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form. Fold in coconut and 1/2 cup almonds. Spread over jam. Sprinkle with remaining almonds.
4) Bake 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Yield: 2 dozen.
Cook's Note: I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract to the cookie base.
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