Readers, I am confused. I am having a crisis. You see, I’ve long been a member of the “sweet but not TOO sweet” fan club. You might even call me…the treasurer…of not-too-sweet sweets. I treasure them. Wah wah.
I often hold back on the sugar amounts in many of the recipes I make. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some sugar, but I just feel like many desserts overdo it. So when my mom handed me this recipe and told me I should make it for Valentine’s Day, I scanned it and decided it was exactly the kind of recipe I would not be particularly fond of. Almost everything that goes into these Chocolate Raspberry layer bars, with the exception of the walnuts and the butter, is sweetened. So, there is no sugar to cut out, because there is no straight sugar added. But oh…condensed milk, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate, white chocolate, sweetened coconut, raspberry jam, heath bars! It’s the sweet equivalent of that website that has a million pictures of tiny animals making cute faces.
So I made them anyway, because we had all the ingredients and I was stumped trying to find a good Valentine’s Day pastry, and I know SOMEONE who would think these were heavenly. Also, I can see myself, one day faaarrr in the future, forgetting that it’s 10pm and tomorrow is little Jimmy’s bake sale and oh shit oh shit I was supposed to have baked something and god help me if I show up with nothing and get That Look from Susy Snotface’s mother who hand-baked old-fashioned pretzels and sprinkled them with pink sea salt and hm what do we have in our pantry besides cereal and pasta wait is that a bag of chocolate chips and some graham crackers alright maybe I can whip something up without having to wash any bowls and oh yes that chocolate raspberry layer bar recipe I made when I was 25 was quite a hit so let’s do this thing little Jimmy!
Now, this recipe is as easy as it gets…but I did manage to screw it up (natch). After the graham cracker crust/condensed milk/coconut layers cooled somewhat in the pan I decided to cool it OUT of the pan on the wire rack. Well. I tried extricating the thing and I ended up with:
WOOPS. That’s what it looked like AFTER I tried to piece it all back together. As you can see, it didn’t exactly turn out as planned. Next time I would definitely without a doubt line the pan with parchment. It’s usually a good idea anyway, I just don’t when someone doesn’t explicitly tell me to, because I hate cutting the parchment to be the right size and all that nonsense. Laziness, thy name is ‘Trina.
Anyway. I ate like 8000 of them. They were too sweet, of course, but I ate them anyway. Because there is no way to combine all those delicious ingredients and end up with something I wouldn’t eat. And then I piped stupid hearts on top to add insult to injury. So, call me a hypocrite. I don’t care, I am making these again, little Jimmy’s bake sale or not.
Chocolate Raspberry Layer bars
from another random magazine clipping of my mother’s
1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 cups (12 oz package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
2 2/3 cups (7 oz package) flaked coconut
1 1/4 cups (14 oz can) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup seedless (I used seeded, no harm no foul) red raspberry jam
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional…but don’t leave them out because they cut a LITTLE bit of the sweetness)
1/2 cup white chocolate morsels
(I also added on top 2 chopped up heath bars…I recommend this [I know I know, more sweetness…I guess you might as well go whole hog if you’re going hog at all, or something])
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in a medium bowl. Press firmly onto bottom of ungreased 13×9-in baking pan (again, I’d parchment it). Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet morsels, then coconut; pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over top.
Bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned; cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Spread jam over cooled top; sprinkle with walnuts (and heath bars). Place remaining semi-sweet morsels and white morsels in separate heavy-duty plastic bags. Microwave together on medium-high power for 45 seconds; knead bags to mix. Microwave at additional 10-second intervals, kneading until smooth. Cut a small hole in corner of each bag; squeeze to pipe over bars. Refrigerate for 5 minutes to set chocolate. Cut into bars. Makes 2 dozen.