Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Bars

Chocolate Raspberry Bars...or Chocolate Strawberry Bars

First of all let me say, Happy Thanksgiving! I had a relaxing day of sleeping in until 11:30 this morning. The first day I had off in almost 3 weeks. Not waking up before 7am was the best feeling ever today. Add turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy to that and I was in heaven. Oh and wine, you can add wine into that mix too. Now, being Canadian having Thanksgiving in November still seems a little odd to me. But with great food on the table and family surrounding me, I really can't think of any other way I'd like to spend my day.

So why am I writing this on Thanksgiving night and not doing something else? Because I have work tomorrow morning and I wanted to just relax tonight...and watch Shrek Forever After. Shrek cracks me up, watching the latest one for the first time right now. Fiona is kicking Shrek's ass in the backwards world he put himself in. Yeah, anyways onto these bars.

The best part about these bars is how well the raspberry jam and chocolate go together. And what's even better is that I discovered you can switch out the raspberry jam with strawberry and they are just as fantastic! The layers of these bars are great and add so much flavor that comes together when you bite into these. I've made these several times and they satisfy that craving I have for something sweet and chocolatey. There are a few different steps to these so let's get started. Here's what you need!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners/powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, still cold and cubed or sliced in some way

About 1 cup seedless raspberry jam OR strawberry jam OR whatever jam you want really
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup vanilla or white chocolate chips, melted

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

Alright so you do these bars in phases. There's quite a bit of time between the layers and stuff. But preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and we'll get started on the crust.

In a bowl combine the flour and confectioners sugar. Then cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. I use a pastry cutter to get the butter into the flour/sugar combo. So this should look like so...

Nice and crumbly. Now you're going to press this crust into an 8 x 8 square baking pan.

Alright, now you're going to pop this in the oven for about 15 minutes. You want it to be nicely browned, but obviously not burnt. You need it be firm so it won't crumble and fall apart later when you try to cut the bars. 

So your crust should look like this. Next up is the jam! Yay jam! You need to spread it on the crust while it's warm so it'll spread easier. Soooooo this is the funny part. My recipe originally called for only 1/2 a cup of jam. That was clearly not enough jam to cover the crust, so I don't know what that recipe was thinking. I easily double the amount...and then some.

So use however much jam you choose. Jam is tasty so in my head I figured the more the better. I wanted enough jam that I would be able to taste it in the bar, what's the point of putting it in if you're not going to taste it?

Next up! Take the chocolate chips and put them in a microwave safe bowl. Melt them at 50% power. I start at 2 minutes then stir, then another minute or so. Do not burn the white chips. It smells bad and you just wasted some chocolate chips.

Melted like this? Yes? No? If not, try again! :) Now you're going to....

Take the softened cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of milk and beat it until it's smooth. Then add in the melted chips and continue beating the mixture until it's smooth. It shouldn't take too long.

This is not completely smooth. This is not what I when I say smooth So keep beating the mixture until it IS smooth.


Now spread this carefully over the jam! As you can see I use a small spatula to do this. You need to do this with a light and gentle hand otherwise you'll mix the jam and the cream cheese layers together. I'm sure it would taste just fine, but I always like the look of having the separate layers. So just go slowly and do it carefully.

So here we are. 3/4 of the way done. Sort of...

Let this cool completely, remember the crust was still warm when you put the jam layer on. Once it's cooled you can pop this in the fridge for about an hour, until it is set.

So you got some free time for about an hour. So go have some fun or do some laundry, cleaning, drinking, watching TV. Run to the grocery store, that's what I usually do, because when I start making these I usually want to make dinner or something too. I don't know why, just happens. Like a cooking bug or something!

For the glaze it's really simple too. Take the microwave safe bowl you used before and put the semi-sweet chocolate chips and the 2 tablespoons of shortening in it. Again melt it at 50% for about 2 minutes, then maybe another minute. Stir it around until it's completely smooth.

Perfection! Alright, so your going to pour this over the cream cheese layer of the bars. What I do is I pour it over and then pick up the pan and move it around so the glaze is evenly spread over the whole pan.

Like this!! Ooooooo very nice right? You're going to pop this back in the fridge for another 10 minutes. Just enough for it to set a bit so you can score it then cut the bars.

Maybe not the most even bars, but I did my best. :)
Once you cut them in the bars. Leave them in the pan, the glaze isn't completely set yet so you need to return this to the fridge for sadly another hour or so. I know, this one has a lot of waiting around. I just want to eat these already!! Gaaaaah!! Don't worry, distract yourself with something else then when that hour mark can FINALLY enjoy these!!

That's it! You're done! Enjoy and try not to be like me and eat all of them. oops...hey sometimes it happens.

Just to leave you with a couple more pictures of your future deliciousness...

Happy Thanksgiving!!
'Til Next Time!!

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