These bars were by far the best fruit bars I've ever had. My local coffee shop (yes, there's only one in Williamstown) makes a raspberry shortbread bar that is pretty good, but I wanted to try to improve on it. These bars are not too thick, not too thin. The jam layer is thin which keeps the bars from being too gooey and messy, but it's enough to complement the shortbread. I'll definitely be making this recipe again and again, with lots of different types of jam. I think blueberry would be terrific.
And hey, there's fruit in there - it can't be that unhealthy, can it? But really, I'd so much rather have a small piece of real dessert then eat all that fake processed food. The only reduced fat food in my kitchen is my Jif reduced fat peanut butter, and that one's going to be hard to give up - I just love the taste. Luckily, I love to workout as much as I love to bake. When I teach step classes, I'm talking constantly - usually barking out steps to tell everyone what's next. But even when we start doing something more repetitive, I keep talking to take their minds off the work...but usually that means describing the big layer cake I made over the weekend or the latest treat I brought in for my students. And I'm so horrible, I never bring in any goodies to step class... bringing cookies to the gym just seems so wrong!
Recipe: (Adapted from Epicurious)
3 sticks butter
3 egg yolks
1.5 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cream butter until soft and fluffy.
Add yolks, mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Add to the butter/yolk mixture, and mix until just incorporated. Freeze dough for 2 hours (or up to one month).
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with baking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Set aside 1/3 of the dough for the top of the raspberry bars. The remaining 2/3 of the dough will be the base for the bars. Either place the dough in the food processor, pulse a few times, then gently pat into the pan, or grate the frozen dough into the pan, being sure the dough is spread evenly over the surface of the pan. Grating the dough yields a lighter shortbread. Bake for 20 minutes.
Spread about 1 cup (I like to use a little more than a cup) of raspberry jam evenly over the dough. Use more jam (maybe 1 1/2 cups) if you want a thicker jam layer. Crumble the remaining dough over the jam. It doesn't need to cover the entire surface. Bake another 20-40 minutes until the bars are light golden brown.