And now for a story that has nothing to do with these Raspberry Almond Bars.
My 4.5 year old is a very friendly and affectionate kid. He almost always has a smile on his face and he just loves people. He gives hugs to random people all over town but he is not always an equal opportunity hugger. He especially loves women, the prettier the better. He does hug men, just not as often.
Yesterday, we went to the park to meet up with my friend Brooke and her kids. We were running a little late because the boys had extra long naps. As I was herding them into the park (herding them is something I do often), I noticed she was talking to a guy. As we got closer, I realized that the guy was Dave Matthews.
Now, Dave Matthews lives in our neighborhood. My husband has seen him recently at our local vegan doughnut shop (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it) and at this same park. I have seen him around and also met him on various occasions back when I worked in radio. I used to be a *big* fan and can now just call myself a fan. I have met a lot of famous people, mostly musicians, and even so – I get totally star struck. My heart started beating faster and before I could even think to myself just play it cool Dana, my son ran right up to him and did what every mom in the park at that moment wanted to do. He threw his arms around Dave.
The best part about the whole thing is that Dave was lovely about it. He hugged him back and said something along the lines of “thanks for a nice greeting”. I said something along the lines of “the kid has good taste”. I wanted to thrust my business card at him and tell him to call me if they wanted a personal chef, but I controlled myself. We both went to watch our kids get dirty in the sandbox and I listened to his voice as he talked on his cell phone. I love that voice.
And there you have it. My story that has nothing whatsoever to do with raspberry bars. Sometimes a mother just has to brag.
I made these bars last week for the Motherasana lunch I catered. I wanted to have another dessert alternative to the chocolate chip cookies and these bars seemed to fit the bill. They are really more an almond bar than a raspberry bar. The raspberry comes from jam and there isn’t much of it spread over the shortbread base. There are 3 cups of almonds in the topping, plus a whopping teaspoon of almond extract (that is a lot for almond extract), so if you don’t love almonds – don’t make these bars. People seemed to like them, but not as much as the cookies.
Raspberry Almond Bars
Adapted from Food and Wine
Makes 2-3 dozen bars
The original recipe calls for one stick of butter and one stick of margarine. I couldn’t justify buying margarine for the sole purpose of this recipe (I don’t use it for anything else), so I just used 2 sticks of butter. The crust may have been less crisp, but it was delightfully tasty.
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus 3 tbsp. melted
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 cups sliced natural almonds (about 3/4 pound)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In a standing mixer, beat the softened butter until smooth. Add the flour and confectioner’s sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Pat the dough evenly in the bottom of the pan and bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool slightly, the spread with the jam. Leave the oven on.
2. Toast the almonds for 7-8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Let cool.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown and granulated sugars with the melted butter, eggs and vanilla and almond extracts until smooth; fold in the almonds. Spread the topping over the jam in an even layer. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until set and golden. Let cool completely in the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut into 24 or 36 bars depending on your size preference.