Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Swedish Raspberry Almond Bars

With all the heavy food of the holidays gone, I am more in the mood for something lighter as well as a hot beverage.  Kind of ready for some tea time with a light snack.  I mainly wanted a bar recipe but something more of a shortbread fruit type of thing rather than a thick brownie.
I came across this easy recipe that was just perfect for my craving.  Shortbread is topped with raspberry jam.  Then a fluffy meringue batter that holds almonds and coconut goes on top with a final sprinkling of almond slices.

Swedish Raspberry Almond Bars
adapted from Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes
1 cup sliced almonds (divided into 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
3/4 cup seedless jam
3 egg whites
6 tbs of sugar
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 cup butter/room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the interior of a 9X13 size baking pan.

Beat together the butter and the confectioners sugar for about one minute on medium speed, scraping down the bowl at the halfway point.  The mixture should become very light and fluffy. Fold in the flour until the mixture is crumbly and all the flour is blended.

Pour it into the prepared pan and press evenly into a layer on the bottom of the pan.  Bake crust for about 18-20 minutes.  The crust should be a golden brown when done. Remove and place on rack.

Using a small offset spatula, smooth the jam evenly over the warm crust.  Set aside.

While the crust is cooling, place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until soft peaks form.  Continue to beat and increase the speed of the mixer to high.  Gradually add one tablespoon of regular sugar and beat for 1 minute.  Follow this for each tablespoon addition until all 6 tablespoons are incorporated.  The beating process should end when the whites can hold stiff peaks.

Sprinkle the coconut into the batter, making sure there are no big lumps, and stir.  Then blend in 1/2 cup of the sliced almonds.  Empty bowl of mixture onto the jam layer of the bars.  Spread evenly, covering all sides and corners of jam. Then sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of almonds on top.

Place in oven and bake until the meringue layer becomes a golden brown, which is about 18-22 minutes.  Let cool on a rack completely before cutting and serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. I used canned raspberry pastry filling which I had to de-seed and warm up to spread.  I am sure the seedless jam would have been easier.
2. Parchment is not required, for I found that these bars came out of the pan easily with just greasing.
3. Make sure that you are not too heavy handed when smoothing the meringue layer, you want distinct layers, not a mixture of the meringue and raspberry.
4. None of the components are strong in this recipe.  I got good reviews even from one person that did not like coconut and another that had a dislike for meringue.
                           **LAST YEAR: Nut Drenched Chocolate Cake***