Sunday, May 4, 2014

Vienna Chocolate Bars

I do realize that I have quite a number of posts out there with raspberry and most of them are bars.  However, when a dessert recipe calls for jam, it is first to come to my mind.  Probably goes back to the cake with apricot is a long story, so all I will have to say is do not let decorative colors of a party make you sacrifice anyone's favorite flavors. If the guest of honor at a baby shower loves chocolate, do not make a strawberry lemonade cake to match pink.  A chocolate cake would make your guest happier.

Chalk up another raspberry dessert for me, but this recipe can be made with any of your favorite fruit jam.  You can even choose apricot, but do not look to me to make a trade.

These particular bars have a shortbread crust baked and layered with jam, chocolate chips and a nutty walnut fluff on top.  I know you are wondering where the chocolate is and I admit that the name of this recipe does not really match this bar.  The chocolate is not a primary flavor.  The fruit flavor is dominant, while the chocolate is a subtle undertone. 

For as little as the time it takes to make these, the end result is quite worth it.  We have all been in the situation where we have a commitment to bake but the clock indicates we are short on time.  This is a good one to pull out to resolve the situation.

Vienna Chocolate Bars
adapted from Oh Fudge by Lee Benning

4 egg whites
2 egg yolks
1 cup or 2 sticks butter
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
10 oz jelly (raspberry or your choice)
1 cup choc chips
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter with 1/2 cup of sugar for 3 minutes on medium high speed, scraping down the sides of the inside of the bowl at one minute intervals.  The mixture should be smooth and creamy when done.  Then beat in one egg yolk for 30 seconds and repeat with 2nd egg yolk.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt.  Pour 1/3 of this into the butter mixture and fold the dry ingredients into the dough until no dry streaks remain.  Repeat same process with the 2 other batches of the sifted ingredients.

Once dough is thoroughly mixed, dump onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Pat dough out in the form of a rectangle, measuring 8 inches by 10 inches.  Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.  This layer is done baking when the edges turn a golden brown.

Remove pan from oven and then spread with the raspberry. There is no cooling time, start as soon as it comes out of the oven. Take care to spread evenly and not to let go over the edge.  Then top the raspberry layer with chocolate chips.

The last layer of this dessert, is the nutty topping. Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Gently stir in the nuts and sugar.  Spoon it on top of the chocolate chips and use a spatula to smooth the top.

Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes. When done, the top is like a hard shell but it still is very light in color.  Remove and let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Tips and Notes:
1. The egg whites can be beat while streaming in the sugar and then the nuts get stirred in.  The recipe states that this method will make the topping a little but like divinity.
2.  Try a low sided 8X10 pan if you want the shape more precise.
3.  I placed my chocolate chips on the jelly one by one spacing and making several lines. It is more exact than sprinkling the chips.  Placing the chips evenly guarantees chips in every bite.
                                 **LAST YEAR: Midnight Delights**