Ever since I was a child, I have been completely entralled with how other countries celebrate Christmas. Wooden shoes and glittery spider webs? The pickle ornament? Remember the “Pooping Log” episide of No Reservations? Yes. All of this. I love a stranger’s normal when it’s abnormal to me. Of course, food plays a huge role in all of this. I mean, hey, who isn’t all for hand made tamales on Christmas day? The Mexicans know what’s up! I’m thinking a little Feliz Navidad isn’t such a bad idea this year.
I fully believe that when you understand what a people eats, you understand the people. I suppose that is why I am totally sucked in to any recipe that has a country’s name in front of it. For instance, yesterday I made these Swedish Raspberry Almond Bars; a recipe I found while sifting through old Taste of Home magazines. I’m not exactly sure WHY they are Swedish aside from the fact that the lady who submitted the recipe was given these cookies by a Swedish neighbor. I, on the other hand, tried playing the Kevin Bacon game of cookies: “Sweets = candy = Swedish Fish = raspberry flavoring = Swedish Raspberry Bars!’ Yes, OBVIOUSLY a Swedish recipe.
What I DO know is that I can’t keep my hands out of these delicious treats. A buttery shortbread type bottom, a layer of sweet, tart preserves and a chewy meringue top filled with shaved coconut and sliced almonds…so easy but amazingly rich and tasty. Actually, you could use any type of preserves as a filling, however without raspberry, they might not be considered Swedish. *wink* If you are a canner or food swapper with a million and one flavors of jelly in your pantry, this is a great way to use up any excess. Whether strawberry, grape, blackberry or cherry, these sweets will be a new holiday favorite.
- ¾ c. Butter, softened
- ¾ c. Powdered sugar
- 1½ c. Unbleached flour
- ¾ c. Seedless raspberry jam
- 3 Egg whites
- 6 TB Cane sugar
- ½ c. Flaked coconut (unsweetened)
- 1 c. Sliced almonds, divided
- Additional powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and mix well. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Spread jam over crust. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar 1 TB at a time on high until stiff peaks form. Fold in coconut and ½ c. almonds. Spread over jam. sprinkle with remaining almonds. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
- Easier to cut into bars when cooled.