Hello, how are you? Long time no talk, yes? How have you been? I have been good, busy, busy. You know, when life like gets hold of you and next thing you know it's next week...
Has that ever happened to you? No? Is it just me?
Okay, moving right along. I wanted to finally make a dessert for my family. Oh yes, we have ice cream, who doesn't? But that is not a dessert, that is a very necessary food group, so that doesn't count. I mean actually "make something". It took me a while to figure out what I wanted because truth be told, I don't have a sweet tooth. Have you figured that out yet? For instance, if you present me a plate of french fries (make it with brown gravy and I'll love you forever), or a piece of cake or cookie... I will hands down take the french fries (make it with gravy and I'm moving in) over the sweet every time!
I finally came up with these bars with the influence of one of my cookbooks. I have to be honest with you, their "outta this world"!
You have the nice cake mix crust. Yes, you heard me correctly, cake mix crust. The middle is raspberry preserves with a smidgen of Chambord drizzled in, well just because of course...
Topped with the lightest of almond meringue. I know! I love the ease of preparation too! I'm all about easy ya know! *wink* My family gobbled them up and I actually shared too!
Ready for the recipe? Here we go;
Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake time: Total 40-45 minutes
Yield: 24 bars
1 Pkg white cake mix (can use yellow if that is what you have on hand)
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp almond extract
2 large egg yolks
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups finely chopped almonds
1-1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam or raspberry preserves
2 tbsp Chambord liquor (or raspberry liquor) *optional*
*Notes: If your jar of jam/preserves is equal to 12 Oz, there is no need to measure, that is exactly 1-1/2 cups. 8 Oz is 1 cup, 4 Oz is 1/2 cup. The plethora of information I have, I know!
-Preheat oven to 350F.
-In a medium bowl, add your cake mix, eggs, melted butter and almond extract. Using a hand mixer, mix till all are combined. The dough will be crumbly and look like small pellets.
-Using a 13 X 9 pan, grease pan and then add the crust crumbles. Press crust down on the bottom part of the pan.
-Bake for 15 minutes or till crust is lightly browned.
-We finely chop the almonds, almost to crumbs, like so.
-The crust should be done now. Take out of the oven and place on cooling rack to cool for about 10 minutes.
-Spread the jam/preserves over the cake crust.
-Drizzle the Chambord (if using) over the raspberry preserves. Why didn't I mix the jam with the liquor in a bowl you ask? Why would I want to dirty another bowl? What?
-Let's make our meringue. I really like the fact that we are not wasting any eggs in this recipe!
Using your stand mixer or hand mixer if preferred, add the egg whites to the bowl. Beat on medium till they are frothy and foamy about 1 minute or so.
-Increase your speed to high and slowly start adding in your sugar. The meringue will be done when you have stiff peaks, about 1-2 minutes.
-Turn off mixer. Gently fold in your finely ground almonds. Spread over jam layer. Do not get meringue on sides, trust me! I learned the hard way, it's a sticky annoying mess. I wouldn't steer you wrong!
-Bake for 25-27 minutes till meringue is just starting to brown. I actually ended up baking mine a smidgen longer and it became more brown than I had intended...
I know, I was on the phone. Okay, okay, I was on FB.
These bars in all seriousness were so good. They were just the right consistency, not too dense or chewy. Just perfect. The Chambord definitely gave the filling an over the top taste, and you know I'm all about taste!
The ease of the preparation is what convinced me to make these. I hope it convinces you too.
Till next time!
Dishin with Didi