Christmas 2019 was just after our mom had passed and, I knew that her spirit would be with me in the kitchen while I baked and baked and baked.
Just as I’d done for years growing up as her daughter. And all of the years of my life since then.
Last year, my sisters and I cooked together the day before Thanksgiving, making all of our family recipes, keeping Mama’s spirit close in heart. Not surprisingly, that day’s banter turned to which Christmas cookies we’d each be baking in December.
My sister Suz had a vintage Nestle’ cookbook that I loved leafing through. How refreshing to not be royally annoyed by (online) pop-up ads, read recipes that were clearly designed/tested by professionals, and those of which I was 100% confident would yield perfect results.
These Razmatazz Bars were one of the three sweets I made from that book last December. (Suz graciously made me copies of the recipes on her home copier.) They starred in my 2019 Cookie Parade, for clients and for my own list of loves.
They were a spectacular hit.
I just know they’ll star in your own Greatest Hits Collection as well.
Razzmatazz White Chocolate-Raspberry Jam Cookie Bars
1 Tbsp soft butter + 3 Tbsp sugar for preparing pan (may need more)
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 10-oz package white chocolate chips (Nestle’ or Trader Joe’s have got ’em!)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup slivered almonds, optional
For dusting cookies to serve:
about 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325F ; butter and sugar a 9″-square baking pan, ideally glass. Place jam in heatproof dish, stir until smooth, and let it warm up on top of stove.
In a double boiler or a bowl placed over a pot of just boiling water, melt butter. Add one cup of white chips, remove from heat, let stand. Do not stir.
With hand or stand mixer, beat eggs in large bowl until foamy. Add sugar; beat until light and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes. Stir in butter-chips mixture.
Mix flour with salt, add to mixture with vanilla extract, beating at low speed until combined well. Spread 1/2 mixture into prepared pan.
Bake for 15-17 minutes until light golden brown on edges. Remove from oven, place on wire rack. Maintain oven temperature.
Whisk warm jam again, and spread over warm crust. Stir remaining chips into remaining batter. Drop spoonfuls of batter over jam. Sprinkle with almonds if using.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are browned and center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.
Yields about 24 bars.
You may cut them on the diagonal and place in mini-muffin cups to serve; this will extend the yield. They’re quite rich so less might be more. Or, not ;).