Raspberry jam, white chocolate chips and a buttery, coconut streusel top an almond shortbread crust. These Raspberry White Chocolate Bars are a little bite of heaven!
Raspberry. White chocolate. Almond. Need I say more? They are flavors I often gravitate towards, even when on their own. But today, we’re putting these flavors together in one bar to create a fabulous flavor trifecta!
It’s a few days past Valentine’s Day and admittedly, I baked and made my share of red and pink treats. But I couldn’t help making one more when I came across this recipe in my collection of clippings. The original recipe was from a little paperback Land O’Lakes cookbook. (LOVE those little supermarket cookbooks from days gone by).
I made some changes here and there to add a few things I thought might make it even better…. starting with almond extract. As you may know, almond is a favorite of mine. What’s YOUR favorite flavor? If you are not part of the almond-extract-loving crew, you can certainly leave it out. I just think it adds a little something extra to the overall flavor. And by the way, be sure to use the pure stuff, no imitation flavors allowed.
The second change to the original recipe was bumping up the amount of white chocolate. Can there ever be too much chocolate? I don’t think so. Originally, the recipe had you sprinkle the chips on the raspberry jam and then top it with the streusel. I didn’t like that all those pretty little white chocolate chips got buried, so I added a sprinkling of more chips to the end of the baking time. Those extra chips stay on top and bump the flavor up another notch. After all, they ARE called Raspberry WHITE CHOCOLATE Bars, so let’s make sure the white chocolate part is at it’s maximum level.
The third change I made was adding coconut to the streusel topping. Coconut will make your bars a little sweeter, add another flavor and it always looks so pretty when it gets all golden brown and toasty! As a Freelance Food Stylist for the past 25 years, I am always on the lookout for what is going to make food not only taste, but also look it’s best. Sometimes that means adding some color to a recipe, by adding a chopped vegetable or sprinkling of parsley. Sometimes it means sprinkling some cheese on top. Other times a recipe might need a sprinkling of sugar or a drizzle of icing. In the case of these Raspberry White Chocolate Bars, it meant adding coconut to the streusel and sprinkling on more white chocolate chips at the end.
I don’t ever add something to a recipe if it will throw off the overall flavor. If food is pretty, but doesn’t taste good, then what’s the point?Little additions are all about added flavor, texture and color to make the food the star. After all, they say we eat with our eyes first!
Your bars, cookies, and other treats will be the first ones everyone reaches for if they look AND taste exceptional. And these Raspberry White Chocolate Bars do! Make some for your family or co-workers to spread a little love any day of the week, not just on Valentine’s Day. Happy Baking!
Yields 36 bars
Inspired by a Land O'Lakes recipe
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 4 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 (18oz) jar raspberry preserves
- 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, divided
- 1/2 cup flake coconut
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, salt, vanilla and almond extract together. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl often, 2 minutes until well blended.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, 1 cup at a time, scraping bowl often. Dough will be crumbly.
- Remove 1 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside. Add eggs to remaining crumb mixture in bowl and beat on medium speed, 1 to 2 minutes until well blended.
- Press dough evenly in bottom of ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan.
- Bake crust at 350 degrees F. for 20-22 minutes, until set and just beginning to brown on edges. Remove from oven.
- Spread raspberry preserves evenly over hot, partially baked crust. Sprinkle 1 cup of the white chocolate chips evenly over preserves.
- In small bowl, combine reserved crumbs with coconut. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over white chocolate chips.
- Return to oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, until topping is lightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.
- Cool completely before cutting.