Sometimes, when I look at the food I eat, I have to make sure that I don’t look too closely.
Because fresh fruit and veggies can kind of be gross. Sometimes.
They get little speckles of who-knows-what on themselves, and bruises, wilted bits, soft spots, dirt, mold, bugs — ugh!
I can eat them now, though, and I’m a lot better than I used to be — considering that I used to only eat super processed foods. Mashed potato flakes, cheese slices, canned soups, noodles — nothing fresh or natural at all.
With age, I’ve learned to let go a little. I can enjoy produce and salads (even if the lettuce is lookin’ a little brown around the edges) or a piece of bruised fruit (just eat around the mushy spot)!
Hey — I can even pop a raspberry in my mouth without inspecting its hollow side for spiders and having a staredown with all the little hairs sticking out of it.
What are those things, anyways? Someone give that berry a shave!
This is why it’s a relief to be able to take a shortcut with a recipe sometimes — I will totally admit to using good quality raspberry preserves for these linzer bars, thus avoiding a staredown between me and a hairy berry.
Someone once suggested to me that my “food checking” is a form of OCD. I don’t really think so, though — what’s weird about wanting to make sure that the food you’re eating is clean?
Nothing — that’s what!!
Anyways, these raspberry linzer bars are clean. No hairs or spiders in ’em. I checked.
Raspberry Linzer Bars
*adapted from Bar Cookies: A to Z
- 1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons ground hazelnut meal
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup raspberry preserves
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
In a large bowl, sift together a half cup of hazelnut meal, the all-purpose flour, white sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Drop the cut pieces of cold butter into the sifted ingredients, and, using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and no large bits of butter remain.
Lightly beat the eggs and vanilla extract together.
Pour the beaten eggs and extract into the bowl of crumbed ingredients, then stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm, shape into a disc, and refrigerate it for 3 hours or overnight.
Once the dough is chilled, line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Divide the chilled batter into thirds — recombine two thirds (2/3) of the dough, generously flour your rolling pin and your hands, then roll it in to a 9-inch (23 cm) square. Gently transfer the square of dough to the prepared pan and press it evenly over the bottom. Chill until needed.
Generously flour your rolling pin and your hands again, then roll out the remaining third (1/3) of dough into a 12 x 4 inch (30 x 10 cm) rectangle.
Cutting lengthwise, divide the dough into 8 long strips. Place the strips in the freezer for a bit while you prepare the raspberry preserves.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together 1 cup of raspberry preserves with 1 tablespoon of orange liqueur, like Cointreau — if you’re skipping the alcohol in this recipe, then skip this step.
Evenly spread the raspberry preserves over to of the chilled dough in the baking pan.
Remove the cut strips of dough from the freezer and layer neatly over top of the raspberry preserve layer. Look at this link if you need a tutorial.
Sprinkle the top of the lattice crust with remaining hazelnut meal, and bake for 28 ~ 30 minutes — or until the edges of the cookie crusts are lightly browned and the raspberry filling starts to bubble.
Remove from the oven and let cool and set for 3 hours before cutting into bars.
If you can’t find hazelnut meal in your local supermarket, it’s always possible to make your own.
Simply toast whole hazelnuts in the oven at 350°F/175°C for 10 minutes, rub off as much of the hazelnut skins as you can, then use a food processor to grind the hazelnuts down into the amount of meal you need.
These raspberry linzer bars keep well in the fridge for a few days — not to mention that chilling them makes the cookie crust easier to cut into bars, too. Yum!