Monday, December 22, 2008

Making Chocolate Raspberry Crumb Bars

Nothing like being only 3 days away from Christmas to inspire some late-night baking. Something about stress and chocolate morsels that just really go well together.

Someone had made some chocolate raspberry dessert bars awhile back that were just yummy. I liked the idea of the red raspberry adding a holidayish color to a simple dessert. So I googled "chocolate raspberry crumb bars" and printed a few recipes to take back to my kitchen to experiment with.

Here are the players ...

A little flour, a little sugar, a little butter, and a bag of chocolate.
Everything that is good in the world.

Whoops! I've spilled a few tasty morsels. Well, I can't let good chocolate go to waste!
Guess I'll just have to sample a few while I'm baking.
You'll notice all my photos have a certain "dark" quality to them. Yeah. That's what I get for baking at night and depending on the lights from the Christmas tree in my living room.

Now, the recipe instructions said to let butter soften to room temperature and then blend until creamy. Yup. I was a little impatient with that ... so I melted the butter a tinsy bit on the stove first and then blended the softened bits with the liquid bits.
I now know the true meaning of splatter.

There goes that late-night-orange-colored photo again. I did try the flash. Flash doesn't do well with stainless steel bowls. I blinded myself for a couple of minutes. But I digress ... Anyway ... the next step in the recipe was to blend the dry ingredients into the creamy butter. Flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt. (I forgot to include the salt in the family photo above.)

Now it's starting to look like something good!

Powdering up my hands with flower and pressing the crumb mixture into the pan was pure therapy. I doubled up the recipe so I could use a cookie sheet instead of a 13x9 baking pan. What's strange is the original recipe called for one 13x9 baking pan yielding 3 dozen bars ... yeah, I don't think so! Maybe a dozen?! Someone else was doing some late-night recipe writing for sure.

While the crust is baking, I had to put the chocolatey morsels to better use than snacking. Melting them into a can of sweetened condensed milk.

Like my cartoon-dog shaped chocolate blob? The next step in the recipe called for spreading the gooey chocolate mixture "over a hot crust." This is why I disagree ...

Ever worked with hot melted chocolate before? It's sticky! And it was messing up the crust! Here's a recipe modification ... let crust cool and THEN add the chocolate. At least it's a "crumb" bar, so a few crust nibbles on the top will blend in.

After making what looks like a chocolate pizza ... I added the toppings by mixing a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans with the remaining crumb mixture and sprinkling that on top. Then I dolloped on spoonfuls of raspberry jam and popped it into the oven at 350 for 35 minutes. The raspberry jam popped and danced all over the place. Thought it was kind of cool (or at least it was last night) so I experimented with a little point-and-shoot video below.

After letting it cool overnight in the refrigerator, this is what I woke up to in the morning ...

Much better lighting in the daytime, don't you think?

For the complete recipe, click here: Chocolate Raspberry Crumb Bars


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