Today is my boss’ 40th birthday, so I decided to be thoughtful and bake some birthday treats. I know he loves raspberry, lemon and cheesecake, so immediately I thought to make these raspberry bars, a recipe from Better Home and Gardens Magazine that is absolutely amazing. I know they’re amazing, because when I entered them in my county fair this summer, they won a 1st place ribbon! And, my boss didn’t make it past 10 a.m. before he had to try one. And, he texted me on his drive to the Duck’s game to tell me his buddy was “eating one right now,” and “he said it was incredible.”
I wish I could take the credit, but props goes to Scott Peacock, the chef who created this recipe for BHG Magazine.
Ingredients for Fresh Raspberry Bars from Better Homes & Gardens (May 2011)
1 c. unsalted butter cut into 1″ chunks (2 sticks)
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
softened butter, for brushing side of foil
3/4 c. seedless raspberry jam or preserves
1 pint (2 cups) of fresh raspberries (I used frozen because I had no choice, and it worked fine)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. goat cheese, or another 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used cream cheese because goat cheese was freaking $5.99 at Fred Meyer)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, leaving extra foil extending over the ends which will later be used to lift the bars from the pan.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it just begins to blend and soften, about 30 seconds.
Add brown sugar and salt, beat on low speed until just incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 2 cups of flour. Beat on low until the flour is incorporated then increase the speed to medium and mix until the ingredients form an even, cohesive dough. (Don’t worry about over mixing; this is a shortbread which is difficult to over mix with the large amount of butter being used.)
Break the dough into small chunks and press into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Lightly brush the exposed foil with softened butter. Spread the jam evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the fresh raspberries.
In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and goat cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Mix in the granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour until blended. With the mixer running, add the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Pour the custard batter evenly over the berries. Tilt the pan back and forth to evenly distribute.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the custard is barely set.
Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour and then transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for 2 hours.
Use the foil to lift the bars from the pan. Gently peel the foil down and away from the bars. Cut into long bars, peel the foil from the bottom and transfer to a cutting board. Next, cut the bars into smaller squares.
Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.