Razzle Dazzle Shortbread Bars!

I love the holidays. The colder weather makes it perfect for soft sweaters, hunkering down with your friends and family, cozy fireplaces, and, of course, baking!

These bars combine 3 great flavors: raspberry jam, dark chocolate, and slivered almonds, all amidst a buttery shortbread cookie layer and topping. They practically melt in your month and have the perfect amount of sweetness, not too sweet, to really appreciate all the flavors.

I made these 1) for sweet enjoyment, 2) to give to new neighbors, and 3) because I wanted to share a delicious recipe with you all!

The bars freeze well. I like to freeze half to have available anytime that sweet-treat-itch hits, or for a dessert for guests in a pinch. Just put them in a freezer-proof container and stick in the freezer for up to 4 months. When you’re ready for them, either defrost them on the counter overnight, or if you’re just taking out one to have immediately, pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Warm, buttery, deliciousness –> Served.

Oh yes, and I’ve dubbed them Razzle Dazzle Bars. Raz = raspberry, Dazzle = beautiful bars to impress your friends and family!

Makes one 13×9 inch pan of bars, about 24 bars (you can always cut them smaller or larger depending on your preference)

Ingredients
Cookie Layer Base:
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks, large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Filling:
Jam – 12-15 oz your favorite jam. I used Trader Joe’s reduced sugar raspberry
about 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Topping:
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
dash cinnamon

Super duper topping:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips, I use dark chocolate

Directions:
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil, leaving overhang on each edge. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray and set it aside.
2) First, we make the cookie base layer. In a large bowl using an electric mixer beat together the butter and granulated sugar. Beat for a few minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add in the two egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat again until just combined. Then, with the mixture on the lowest speed, slowly add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. I add in about half, mix it in until it starts to incorporate, then add the other half. Your batter should look like this:

3) Press the dough into the 13×9 inch pan. You can use a spatula. I find using your hands works the best. Pat the dough evenly all around, like this:

4) Spread a generous layer of jam on top of the dough layer. I use this whole jar:

And it’ll look like this!

5) Sprinkle about a 1/2 cup of slivered onto the jam layer.
6) Now, we make the topping. It’s very similar to the cookie base. First, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. The mixture wont get as light and fluffy as the base, but it should all be well mixed together. Gradually add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon with the mixer on the lowest speed. The end results is a crumbly (but very moist) topping:

7) Sprinkle the topping over the jam layer. Lightly press the topping layer into the jam, just to make sure it’s good-n-in there.

8) Bake the bars in your preheated oven for about 40 minutes. When the edges have just started to brown, but the middle isn’t that light brown color yet, sprinkle slivered almonds over the top. Press them in. Then continue baking about 5 minutes longer, until the top is a lovely golden brown and the almonds are toasted.
9) Cool the bars in the pan on a cooling rack. When they’re completely cool, or at least mostly cool, use your foil handles to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board.
10) Melt about 1/2 cup chocolate chips in the microwave. It’ll take about a minute, stir them every 15 seconds until you have a smooth glossy chocolate.
11) Using a fork, scoop some chocolate onto the fork and then waive if back and forth across the bars. The end results will look like this!

12) Yummmm! In an ideal world, let them cool completely before cutting into bars. However, you know me, there is nothing like a treat warm and fresh from the oven 😀

You can cut them into bars…

Or triangles!

Though they are light, they’re also pretty rich, so I even cut these triangles in half again. You will surely eat more than 1, but, at least you can pretend like you’ll just have 1 small one…

Happy baking!!!!

What’s your favorite kind of jam? Feel free to use it in the recipe and let us know how it turns out!

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