photo by Anthony Palatta
Now that the holidays are over, I'm trying to cut down on sweets as much as I can. I've also been getting some feedback on the holiday cookies I've been baking, and I was surprised to hear that the overwhelming consensus favorite were these raspberry bars.
The bars were a last-minute addition to my holiday cookie plans. The only reason I made them at all was that my partner and highly esteemed photographer, Anthony, was saying he had a craving for a raspberry crumb bar from a fine local bakery, Ciao for Now. "Why go there? Why don't you let me make you one?" I asked.
After looking through various cookbooks I have on hand, I found a recipe in my old standby, the Martha Stewart Handbook that contains just six ingredients: butter, blanched almonds, flour, sugar, salt, and raspberry jam. Because of that, it's important to use the best quality ingredients possible, especially for the jam.
(Click here for the exact recipe.)
You start by combining the butter, almonds (ground), flour, sugar, and salt, then pressing half the mixture into a rimmed baking sheet and baking it until it's lightly browned. Here's where I departed from the recipe. Rather than use the 1 3/4 cup of jam called for, I slathered on an entire jar of jam, taking care to completely cover the crust. Then I crumbled the remaining mixture, as directed, over the jam, and returned the pan to the oven for another 20 minutes.
The bars were delicious, and I think a bit decadent because I'd used so much jam, maybe even too much, but in a good way. I'll definitely be repeating these.