Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Macaroon Jam Bars

I've come up with a lot of "dynamic duos" in baking in the past and this recipe is no exception.  This time, I decided to combine a rich shortbread-like base under a coconut macaroon topping with a luscious jam in between the two.  Sounds good and I guarantee it's tastes as good as it sounds.

Here in the United States, macaroons are mostly a dense, coconut and egg white cookie, sometimes dipped in chocolate and very much like their "ancestors" from Scotland that were more cake-like. The sophisticated macarons from France which are made from ground almonds and egg whites, colored in beautiful pastels and layered with a flavored Swiss buttercream are just as good, but wouldn't work for these bars.  I decided to do a jam between the layers, but instead of the usual oat base, this is a shortbread with added  dessicated coconut (unsweetened coconut) to enhance the macaroon on top.  You can change up the flavor with variety of jam you use; I used up two flavors I had in the refrigerator from what I previous had preserved--Strawberry and Strawberry/Peach, but raspberry, cherry, even blueberry would have been great.

Macaroon Jam Bars
Cookie base:
14 T (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar* 
2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup dessicated coconut (unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray a 9" x 12" baking pan with a non-stick spray--you can also line with parchment.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix up all the dry ingredients, then, gradually add the melted butter and mix until evenly coated.  Don't worry, it will still be crumbly.
Spoon into the prepared pan and use your fingers to press firmly.
Bake in the preheated oven about 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.  Don't over bake.
Macaroon topping:
1 14oz. pkg. Baker's sweetened coconut
1/4 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
pinch of salt

2 cups of your favorite Jam
In a medium mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the macaroon topping.  Mix by hand to incorporate all the ingredients.
Measure 2 cups of jam.  When the cookie base comes out of the oven, first use an off-set spatula to spread the jam over the top.
Next, spoon dollops of macaroon topping and spread to cover the jam, being careful not to mix the two together.  Bake in the preheated oven 18-20 minutes more until macaroon topping is browned.  Let cool before cutting into bars.

Another dynamic duo of flavors that would be a great lunch box treat or afternoon snack...and while the kids are at school, have a cup of tea and Enjoy!


  1. They look awsome! I can't wait to try them. I like the idea of bars instead of cookies. Thanks for the idea.

  2. I will be going to the store first thing tomorrow morning to get the coconut that is needed to make these scrumptious bars! I think I will combine the "Cherry" and the "Cherry-Cranberry" jams that you sent me.
    PS--What is the * next to 2/3 cup granulated sugar mean? Did I miss something? I know that you sometimes bake with super fine sugar. :)

  3. Oh shoot! I need to add by the * that I use Baker's Sugar which has a finer texture to it. It's close to what they call for in European recipes as Castor Sugar...somewhere between granulated and confectioners'. You're hired as my editor! You always catch my flubs, Sis Hugs!

  4. Macaroon cookies with shortbread and jam!!! sounds like a good one to me.
    stamping sue

  5. Wow!! I can't believe how easy these bars were to make!! I had intended to go first thing this morning to get the sweetened coconut but we were totally fogged in. (betcha can't believe that I actually had KAF unsweetened coconut!!) The bars just finished baking and they smell heavenly!! I am determined to let them cool completely before I dive into them!! I just hope it doesn't take too long----I'm late for my 3:00 coffee break! Hugs, Barb

  6. I bet I need to send you more jam now...don't I!

  7. This is just a test to see if what I have done will show my photo!!!

  8. You are becoming a super IT person...I'm so proud: )