Monday, November 8, 2010

Raspberry Squares

Last summer, when Kelly and I returned from our "road trip" to Virginia, I helped her get ready for their annual neighborhood yard sale.  Kelly had decided that she wanted to include a Bake Sale for God's Pantry, a food bank in Lexington, Kentucky.  That was Kelly!  She was always thinking of ways she could contribute to causes she believed in.

The night before we baked...and baked...and baked.  We made, what Kelly called, treats that everyone loves; Jam Bars, Gooey 7-layer Bars, Rice Krispie Treats, and bags of Popcorn.  All wrapped up and set on a special table among the yard sale items, Kelly made almost $90.00 to contribute to this charity--more than she made from the yard sale itself.

This morning, during this month of Thanksgiving, I'm remembering how thankful I am for having such special, caring daughters, who are generous of their time and mindful of people less fortunate.  Lessons I've passed down from my parents.

These Raspberry Squares aren't Kelly's recipe; sadly, I've yet to come across the one she used.  However,  King Arthur Flour has a publication called The Baking Sheet, that I have subscribed to for years and this recipe "spoke" to me this morning of cherished memories. I not only remember that evening of baking with Kelly, but I remember the excitement she felt being able to send this money to the food bank.

Bakery-style Raspberry Squares

3 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
1 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 cup chopped hazelnuts or pecans (today, I used pecans)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted, cold butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 3/4 seedless raspberry jam (I used my homemade jam...and it isn't seedless!)
1 tsp. lemon zest.

Preheat oven 350F-degrees.  Spray, with a non-stick baking spray and line with parchment or aluminum foil, a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

In a food processor, I mixed together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon, then pulsed a couple of times.  I added the cold butter and pulsed until the mixture resembled coarse crumbs.  Finally, I added the honey and vanilla and pulsed a few times.
Here's a hint:  I use an  adjustable measures for "sticky" ingredients, i.e., honey, molasses, peanut butter, jam, etc.  There's no scraping and you get exact measures of the ingredients.  Put it on your Wish List for Christmas!
I transferred the mixture to a large bowl and added the oats, coconut, and pecans.
Mix together, using your hands.  The recipe also says you can put all ingredients into the food processor if you want a smoother texture, but I prefer (and so did Kelly) the tweedier, chunky texture of doing it this way.

Spread 5 cups of the mixture into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and pressed down using a smaller pan, measuring cup, or as I did a "tart stamper."
Bake in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes, until the center looks set.  My base took 17 1/2 minutes.  Remove from the oven and spread the jam on top of the base.

Sprinkle the lemon zest over the jam.  This is optional, but it really brings out the flavor of the raspberry jam and I know my mother would have loved the little bit of tartness.
Finally, sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over top.
Bake another 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Yield: 36--1 1/2 x 2 inch bars or 24--2-inch bars.

I hope, in your busy schedule, that you take time, especially this month, to be thankful for everyone you hold dear and if you can, try to give back to those who are less fortunate...and enjoy the Jam Bars!


  1. Wow I have never seen an adjustable measurer before; but it is genius! And I AM putting it on my xmas list!

  2. that certainly is the kelly i knew too, always giving back to others! i remember this photo of her and hearing of the bake sale and thinking wow! with all that she has on her plate she is there helping others. that was not the first time either! thank you for sharing this post susan, kelly has a beautiful legacy and thank you for encouraging that light in others through keeping her memory alive. i love you and am touched to have this recipe and precious memory of her goodness. love nicole xoxo

  3. I was meant to read this post.
    I have recently started making meatloaf on Mondays for a soup kitchen close to where I live.They have served meatloaf every monday for 20 plus years but sadly have had to miss a few due to lack of food.I will now not only do this to give back for all I have in my life but in honor of your daughter and all that she gave in her legacy of giving to others.

  4. Kelly left some big shoes to fill! and I know she's smiling down at all of you for all you give back and cherish in life.

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I'm so glad our recipe brought you back this special memory.
    Happy baking,

  6. My goodness, how I miss her! That day seems like yesterday.

  7. A beautiful picture of your sweet Kelly Susan.

    Love you

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