Is it wrong to want to eat the entire pan myself?


This is Christmas party extravaganza week in our lives, much like it may be in many, many other people’s lives, and with parties comes the opportunity to create something delicious to bring along to the gatherings. Of course, there are always the usual treats (i.e., Christmas Crack, which seems to be my go-to December dish), but every so often I like to dig down deep for goodies I have either never made before…or have somehow fallen out of my rotation.

This recipe falls into the latter category. I first discovered it over a decade ago in our newspaper, and probably made it so often that I decided–no, needed–to take a break from it. The clipping that I had kept a close eye on for so long (and gotten grease marks on from overuse) had somehow been lost, but thankfully, with the advent of the internets (thank you, Al Gore!), I was able to find it again. I’m actually a bit disappointed in myself that I don’t have it memorized.

In any case, it’s the perfect combination in my mind of the finest flavors imaginable: chocolate, raspberry, and shortbread. These are rich, no doubt, but are easy to make and even easier to put away. I have to employ every ounce of self control not to just stand over the finished product and absolutely inhale. (Do you understand just how much I love these?!)

Like I said, however, they are straightforward to make and look fabulous on any Christmas treat platter. I’m taking them tonight to our CC mom’s Christmas party. I hope with other moms around that I’ll be able to just walk. away.

Start with softened butter. After beating it until it’s creamy, add flour, light brown sugar, and a wee bit o’ salt.


Mix it up until it’s crumbly, like this:


Measure out 1 3/4 ish cups (if you’re like me and like to eyeball rather than carefully measure) and press it into a greased 9×13 pan.


The base gets baked for about ten minutes, and after that, microwave some sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips until they easily combine into a chocolately velvetness. (Hey, if you re-read, you will see that I make no inference of healthiness. I claim December as my reason!)


After all these years, I wised up and did this step in a two-cup measuring cup so it was much less messy to pour over the base. Finally. With age comes wisdom, about something…even if it is just about pouring chocolate.


Once that is all evenly spread over the cookie base, take the remaining shortbread dough and crumble it over the chocolate.


Next, drop teaspoons of raspberry jam throughout the pan. I microwaved the jar for just a bit to make it easier to spoon out. Also, I didn’t bother to measure out 1/3 cup. Eyeball, I say. Eyeball. After the jam, sprinkle the leftover chocolate chips over the about-to-be-yummy goodness.


It is now ready to go back in the oven to bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until is displays a lovely golden brown color.


After allowing your creation plenty of time to cool completely, the only job left is to cut it into small squares for your tasting pleasure. Watch out for little helpers whose “Mom’s cutting the cookies!!” radar will invariably start to sound at this point, but for me, it was helpful because I had them clean off the knife…because they seem to wear it so much better than me. The initial reviews from the family were encouraging. Perhaps we shall all have to walk away from these together….

Chocolate Raspberry Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12-ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

BEAT butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 1 3/4 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan; reserve remaining mixture.

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

MICROWAVE 1 cup chips and sweetened condensed milk in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Spread over hot crust.

STIR nuts into reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over chocolate filling. Drop teaspoonfuls of raspberry jam over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with remaining chips.

BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.


(taken with love and gratitude from


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