Raspberry Almond Bars and Dave Matthews

May 15, 2009


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.


  1. I think Dave would love your cooking!! Maybe we should send him your blog info! Love that story almost as much as Graham’s hugs!

    Comment by Deb — May 15, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  2. Great story! I love watching kids being themselves like that. Your almond bars look fantastic.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — May 15, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

  3. Dana, this look utterly irresistible! I love the raspberry in there!

    Comment by elra — May 15, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

  4. I never heard of Dave before. Those bars were a great treat for your catering.

    Comment by Hélène — May 15, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

  5. Dana,
    How strange….we are watching Dave Mathews on Paladium on cable tonight! It’s an old concert. I haven’t thought of him in years. I used to love his music!
    Neat story!

    Comment by Stacey Snacks — May 16, 2009 @ 2:44 am

  6. I saw Dave Matthews at Whole Foods last year. My first and only real celebrity sighting. I did my best to play it cool–I didn’t have my kids with me to break the ice. Of course, after he left, I freaked out with the checker.

    Comment by The Leftoverist — May 16, 2009 @ 6:16 am

  7. oooh. this looks decadently good!

    Comment by cakebrain — May 16, 2009 @ 7:14 am

  8. the best part about this story isn’t dave matthews–it’s how precious your son is :) it always touches my heart, hearing how open and loving children are!

    those bars look beautiful. i’ve been on an almond kick myself lately and these sound scrumptious.

    Comment by HappyTummy — May 16, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  9. I love a random story and even better if it comes with raspberry almond bars!

    Comment by brilynn — May 16, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

  10. Oh my goodness! That’s a great story! I can’t believe it. I love Dave Matthews. So cool…

    The raspberry bars sound delicious. I know I would love them.

    Comment by Emily — May 16, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

  11. Haha great story. The bars look gorgeous! There’s something about almond extract where if you add even the tiniest amount it’s very detectable.

    Comment by Ashley — May 16, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  12. Your bars sound great and your child – adorable, but who is Dave Matthews?

    Comment by holler — May 16, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  13. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dave Matthews – he is the front man for The Dave Matthews Band. It’s a rock band who has had some big hits – mostly in the late 90’s. He is still making music and has a new disc coming out soon. He is GREAT live.

    Comment by dana — May 16, 2009 @ 11:41 pm

  14. Haha so cool! Was he there with his twins? I guess you’re a fan when you know the gender and possibly names of his kids. Er, not that I do or anything…

    Comment by Hilary — May 17, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  15. I love these kind of bars! Yum.

    Comment by kickpleat — May 19, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

  16. AND, there is this video of course all about hugging!

    Comment by Ann — January 26, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  17. woops, here it is!

    Comment by Ann — January 26, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

  18. making raspberry bars and listening to dmb’s new album! you are awesome!

    Comment by Olivia — September 25, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  19. I think I would be a gibbering idiot unable to form a coherent sentence if I ever saw Dave Matthews in person!I saw him at sound advice ampitheatre in west palm several years ago- he and all of his band members are so ridiculously talented! Just LOVE him! The raspberry bars look delish too.

    Comment by Lisa — September 26, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

Leave a comment