Friday, February 12, 2010


Dear Friends,

Apparently I underestimated the brute force of Mother Nature in my Chicken Soup posting. Do you think she read my posting, sniveled at my witty scoffing of the weather reports and decided that punishment was in order? I'm sorry! I take it back! Extra toilet paper was INDEED in order!

It could be that my musings caused the latest storm. And though I conceed that is a rediculous self-centered remark, I STILL maintain that the Buffalo Sabres lose EVERY TIME I WATCH THEM. Regardless of the storm's cause, I still cooked my way to redemption. I baked. I chopped. I experimented and I relied on time-tested recipes. I trekked blocks in the snow to deliver my baking penance to the neighbors.

There was one flop (peanut butter coconut bars), two repeat performances of major successes (wild mushroom risotto and saag paneer) and one totally awesome new success: raspberry coconut bars.

Kudos to my mama on this one: instead of store-bought jam, I sacrificed half a jar of her raspberry-pomegranite jam for this and think it made all the difference in the world. But I think you can change up this recipe in several ways. For instance: use strawberry or grape jam. Add slivered almonds or chopped pecans. Add chocolate chips on top. They come out like a naughty granola bar, so make them with your favorite flavors!

Toasted Coconut Raspberry Bars- adapted from Gourmet

1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (i used 1/2 cup to reduce the sugar)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

preheat oven to 375°F.
Spread 3/4 cup coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast in middle of oven, stirring once, until golden, about 8 minutes, then cool.

Blend together flour, sugars, and salt in a food processor, then add butter and blend until a dough begins to form. Transfer to a bowl and knead in oats and toasted coconut until combined well.

Reserve 3/4 cup dough, then press remainder evenly into bottom of a buttered 9- by 9-inch baking pan and spread jam over it. Crumble reserved dough evenly over jam, then sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup (untoasted) coconut.

Bake in middle of oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack. Loosen from sides of pan with a sharp knife, then lift out in 1 piece and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars.

Note: the recipe actually calls for you to use a 13x9 pan. Mine was dirty from the peanut butter flop, so I used a square pan that must have been 8x8. They came out perfectly and would probably be too thin in a 9x13.

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