On my left is misery. On my right is sweet heaven.
My left contact is for monovision, or up close reading. My right contact is fitted for distance. It took a while to adjust and at times I still fill as if I’m on a boat, rocking back and forth.
My left side is cluttered with numbers, papers, taxes. My contacts are dry and my eyes are beet red from staring at the computer screen. I wish it was from posting pictures & newly found recipes. I’m doing taxes. I’ll just say it . . . I hate doing taxes. I don’t actually do all the paperwork and push send, but I do a grand portion of the preparation for the accountant. When you file the ‘long form’ everything has to be itemized, scrutinized and legitimized. Our jobs require a lot of detailed information. If I slack off during the year, I pay for it later. That time would be right now. One more day of head shaking and a little cussing and I should have it mastered. Hang in there with me please.
So . . . What is on my right side? Berry Jamble Shortbread Bars.
You should know that normally, I don’t ever have food by the computer. I banned it years ago. I found that my hobby requires baking and then sitting and posting about it. You can devour a box, bag or bowl of something without even realizing you’ve eaten it. I’ve been the same size for all my years now, and I’m not about to mess that up now. I could see very quickly, that food at the computer could be unfavorable for my hips. Today . . . I’m giving myself a pass. It’s called the Tax Pass! The Jamble Shortbread bar should be on my left side however, because even a tiny little bite would appear to be mammoth. This is quite helpful when stepping out of the shower . . . I just peer out of my right contact instead of my left!
This recipe lurks in one of my many Cookbooks called: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. It’s a collection of desserts that gives you more than 75 reasons to stock up on napkins! I needed something I could bake for you in a flash, and when my eyes landed on it . . . I frantically began blending.
These buttery bars, are delicious little jam filled shortbread bites. The original recipe calls for Blackberry jam, but I’m all out of that! I don’t have Blackberry bushes growing in my backyard, but I have plum trees and Raspberry bushes that produce like crazy.
My freezer is stocked full of homemade Raspberry & Huckleberry jam and Plum & Blueberry jam and Pomegranate & Strawberry & Plum jam. I happened to have a jar of the PomPlumStrawberryJam in the fridge, so that’s what landed in these shortbread bars last night.
Last fall when I was making jam & jelly, I added pomegranates to the mix of berries. Yum – a very good idea. I only wish it had been my own idea. It was my husbands!
When these are in season, we always have a big bowl of pomegranates in the fridge just waiting to crack open and eat. They are a bit messy, but so delicious and very healthy for you. Just put an old apron on, and get down and dirty in the sink! Better yet . . . just bat your eyes at your better half and hand it to him!
A while back, the good folks at Pom Wonderful sent me a case of this and we went wild! If you don’t want to crack open a bunch of pomegranates, this juice IS WONDERFUL! We enjoyed the juice so much, that when we ran out, we restocked our pantry with more. I think the best price can be found here.
One more thing, before I’m forced to return to the miserable task of taxes. The recipe below uses a 9×13 inch baking pan. I can’t eat a 9×13 inch pan by myself! I cut the recipe in half and used a 12×7 rectangle Flan pan with a removable bottom. It worked perfectly. I realize that normally, you would press the pastry all the way up the sides. As you can see . . . I didn’t! In case you’re wondering, I found that Ceramic non stick flan pan at TJ maxx. Oh how I love that place.
If you use a 9×13 or half the recipe and use a smaller baking dish without a removable bottom like I used, simply line it with parchment paper or foil. That way you can simply lift the entire slab of shortbread bars right out of the baking pan. It makes it so much easier to cut into nice size pieces after the bars cool.
- 1 pound (4 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3¾ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup almond flour or very finely ground almonds
- 1½ cups Blackberry, Raspberry, or other preserves or jam
- ½ cup chopped almonds, walnuts or other nut
- confectioners sugar for dusting
- Combine the butter and the sugars in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer set at medium low speed, beat until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
- Beat the all-purpose and Almond flours into the butter mixture on low speed, just until a smooth, soft dough forms.
- Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and press one half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold and very firm, at least 30 min.
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
- Bake the bottom crust until it is firm and just beginning to turn pale brown around the edges about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and spread the preserves evenly over the crust.
- Crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the jam to form a pebbly, crumbled topping.
- Sprinkle with the chopped almonds.
- Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until topping is firm and crisp and lightly golden in color, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
- Use a sharp knife to cut bars evenly into 15 large squares. Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula and, if desired, cut in half on the diagonal to form 30 smaller triangular bars. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.
- The bars will keep, covered tightly, for about 1 week at room temperature, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.