My first foray into “real” baking (i.e. not my E-Z bake oven) was baking cookies at Christmas with my mom when I was….I honestly can’t remember how old I was so I must have been pretty young, maybe 7 or 8? We had a number of go to recipes that we would make every year, but these raspberry coconut bars were by far my mom’s (and my Grandma’s) favorite. To this day I always try to make her a batch at Christmas.
I’m not really sure where the recipe came from. The original was hand written on an index card and over the years I’ve made small tweaks to it, mostly in the method, type of pan used, etc. It is a pretty quick and easy bar cookie, and most importantly it is soooooo good.
After many years of making this recipe we discovered that a glass pan works better than a metal one, mainly because in a metal one the edges would get over done. If all you have is a metal pan I would suggest using a cake strip around the edge to keep the edges from over baking. I use an 8 inch square Pyrex baking dish to make these bar cookies. Give it a good spray with some baking spray (Pam with flour or Baker’s Joy work great).
For the cookie crust sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut a stick of unsalted butter into cubes by cutting in half lengthwise, turning onto one side then cutting again as shown in the picture below. This will make it easier to incorporate the butter.
Add the butter, a little at a time, to the flour and mix in with a pastry blender until the butter is well incorporated and the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.
Press the dough mixture into the greased pan pressing down firmly so that it is nice and even.
The last step is to make the topping. Melt an additional 4 Tablespoons of butter and then add to it one egg, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 4 ounces of coconut. For the coconut I like to use Bobs Red Mill unsweetened coconut over the regular grocery store sweetened coconut (like Bakers brand). The main reason is that the pieces of coconut are a lot smaller so it makes the bars easier to cut. Also, I find the sweetened coconut makes it a little too sweet for me.
Bake the bars at 350°F for about 30 minutes. The top should be golden brown. Allow to cool completely, preferably overnight, before cutting to make them come out as clean as possible. I usually cut them into 2×2 inch squares for a total of 16 raspberry coconut bars.
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon milk
- ¼ to ⅓ cup seedless raspberry jam
- 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 0.75 cup (5.4 ounces) sugar
- 1.25 cups (4 ounces) unsweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray an 8x8 inch pan (preferably a glass pan) with non-stick baking spray.
- To prepare the crust sift the flour into a medium and mix in the baking powder. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add to the flour using a pastry blend. Continue to mix until the butter is well incorporated and the mixture looks like cornmeal.
- In a small bowl mix the egg with the milk until slightly frothy and add to the flour mixture.
- Once the dough is well blended dump into prepared pan and press down evenly.
- Spread ¼ to ⅓ cup of raspberry jam (depending on how much raspberry flavor you want) on top of the crust.
- To make the topping whisk the egg, then add to it the melted butter, sugar, coconut and vanilla.
- Pour the topping mixture over the raspberry jam layer and spread out evenly.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.