Monday, February 17, 2014

Berried Treasure Bar Cookies

This is the Valentine's dessert my mother made. It essentially consists of a shortbread base, a strawberry custard-like filling, a strawberry jam glaze, and a chocolate ganache frosting. The recipe came from one of our mystery cookbook novels, which has never failed us with a recipe yet and contains many decadent, often chocolaty delightful desserts. This dessert has several steps, though none of them are very difficult, so the dessert needs to be made in advance to allow for setting time as well. The crust is baked, then the filling is baked. The bars are then glazed with the strawberry jam and chilled, then the chocolate is placed on and chilled again. Actually, the original recipe called for raspberry jam, but we prefer a seedless strawberry jam. I am sure any other jam would work too, but a red jam is nice for Valentine's Day. The bars would also be nice garnished with some fresh strawberries or raspberries. Because these squares are fairly rich, one 9x13 inch pan can go a long way, but it may also be cut into large hunks for a satisfying dessert for your Valentine. 
These bars are pretty tasty. They have a great composition and stay together well. The shortbread crust makes a firm base that holds the entire square up. The filling does not have an overly strong strawberry flavor, so I would have liked to taste some more strawberry. My favorite part is the chocolate topping, which is something like a sweet ganache, and it firms up on top of the squares. Actually, I preferred eating this when it was hot from the pot, but it really does make the squares delicious, as they aren't overly sweet on their own. The book also featured another recipe similar to this one, the basic change being that the base is a brownie base instead of a shortbread base. I bet I would enjoy these even more, since I am definitely a chocoholic! 

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