Make Layered Cookie Bars

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Prep time: 45 minutes plus chilling Baking time: 50 to 57 minutes Can be frozen: up to one month Easy

Shortbread crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter or margarine, cut up
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Layers

  • 1 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 or 2 drops green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate squares, melted

The layers will be prepared and arranged in the following order, from bottom to top:

  1. Shortbread crust
  2. Jam layer
  3. Pistachio layer
  4. Chocolate top

Shortbread crust

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Pulse flour and sugar in a food processor to combine. Add cold cut-up butter to work bowl and process until mixture is the texture of coarse meal.

Add egg and pulse until mixture begins to hold together. Note: the mixture should still be crumbly but evenly moistened by the egg.

Sprinkle the moistened dough evenly in prepared pan. Gently press the dough with floured fingertips evenly along bottom and sides of prepared pan. Bake 20 to 22 minutes until crust is brown at edges and golden in the center. Transfer to wire rack; cool while making filling.

Jam layer

Stir jam in a small bowl until smooth and spreadable; spread evenly over bottom of crust. (An offset spatula is a great tool for spreading.)

Pistachio layer

Process almonds, sugar, pistachios and flour in food processor, scraping sides of bowl until almonds are very finely ground. This mixture should look like dry bread crumbs. (Note: Grinding nuts in a food processor with flour and sugar prevents the nuts from becoming too moist and turning into a nut butter.)

Add butter and 1 egg. Process until smooth. Add remaining 2 eggs, almond and vanilla extracts and food coloring; process to blend. This mixture should be smooth and creamy in appearance.

Carefully spoon filling over jam layer and gently spread to cover.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until filling is golden brown and firm when pressed lightly in center. Cool completely on wire rack.

Chocolate top

Spread melted chocolate evenly over pistachio layer. Refrigerate 10 minutes until chocolate is set.

Scour top of bars to guide knife as you cut 1 1/4 inch squares. Makes 8 dozen.

 

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