I'm always on the lookout for something new to grace my grandmother's cookie tin. Said cookie's starring role in Jeff's lunch sack every day means it needs to be tasty and portable too. I struck the mother lode the other day when I stumbled upon this great recipe in theGourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl in 2004. I'm very much inclined to try things I find in this estimable yellow tome--because I miss Gourmet, because I'm a Ruth Reichl fan and because seldom does it steer me wrong.
In this case, these nifty bars seemed to hit just the right note of spring with me. Juicy with raspberry jam and coconut, I think they could be a stunning addition to an Easter feast or aspring tea party in the garden which, having spent the morning "caging" my runaway peonies, I'm determined to have when they burst forth.
In any case, these bars were very easy to make and it was sort of exciting taking them out of the pan in one piece to transport them to the cutting board. Between the raspberry bars and the peonies, it's left me feeling like quite the clever wrangler. And I don't know about you, but this wrangler certainly enjoyed tea this afternoon, contentedly surveying my handiwork in the garden while happily munching on one of these dainties.
Now if only the peonies prove to be as compliant as the oatmeal coconut raspberry bars, everything will be truly hunky dory.
Oatmeal Coconut Raspberry Bars
makes 2 dozen bars
1 1/2 cups ( 3 3/4 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
11/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 13 by 9 inch baking pan.
Spread 3/4 cup coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring once, until golden, about 8 minutes. Cool on sheet on a rack.
Combine flours, sugars and salt and mix well. Add butter and mix until just a dough forms . (Ruth does all of this in a food processor, I did it by hand and it worked beautifully). Knead in oats and toasted coconut until well combined.
Reserve 3/4 cup of dough. Press remained evenly into the bottom of the buttered baking pan and spread the jam over it. Crumble the reserved dough evenly over the jam, then sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup (untoasted) coconut.
Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.
Loosen bars from sides of pan with a sharp knife, then carefully lift out in one piece with a spatula and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 24 bars.
The bars keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, but take it from me, they'll never last that long without being gobbled up.