Raspberry and almond. This has to be one of the greatest flavor combinations in the world. And what happens when you pair this amazing duo with white chocolate in a soft, slightly chewy cookie bar? Simply, heaven in a baked good! Nutty and sweet, these bars make the perfect dessert or afternoon snack with a cup of coffee. Any way you eat it, I am sure that you will adore this little sweet treat. It is, without a doubt, one of my ultimate favorites.
The inspiration for making these incredible bars came from one of my favorite bakeries, Haley’s Corner Bakery, located in Kent, WA. From artisan bread and pizza to cookies and cakes, this bakery has the most amazing gluten-free baked goods that make even a restrictive gluten-free diet seem incredibly indulgent. Indeed, if I am able to eat a slice of Haley’s sandwich bread or one of their amazing monster-sized cinnamon rolls, I have absolutely no reason to miss wheat.
Yet of all of their delicious baked goods, I still have one ultimate favorite: raspberry almond bars. In this ingenious concoction, delicious raspberry jam is enveloped by an extremely flavorful almond cookie batter studded with sweet white chocolate chips and topped off with a sprinkling of toasted almonds. And as a chewy cookie lover, the texture of these bars is truly one of my favorite parts as it resembles that of a chewy, almost under-baked cookie. Mere words cannot describe how incredibly delicious this creation is! From the first time I ate one of these bars I knew that I had to try making them. The ingredients were fairly simple: butter, eggs, sugar, gluten-free flour, raspberry jam, almond extract, etc. So I knew that the recipe would also be fairly easy. After scouring the internet for a raspberry almond bar recipe that resembled that of Haley’s, I found one on the Taste of Home website. The image on this site looked almost identical to the Haley’s bars, so I followed the recipe exactly with only slight alterations in order to make it gluten-free.
The result? A nearly identical duplicate of Haley’s infamous raspberry almond bars! I could not have been happier! The flavor is absolutely perfect: a distinctly sweet almond taste accompanied by luscious raspberry preserves that never betrays its secretly gluten-free status. And the texture is almost as perfect. Because the bottom layer is pre-baked, the lower portion came out slightly more cake-like than chewy. The top layer, on the other hand, is exactly like the texture of the Haley’s bars, which can be described as almost almond-paste-like. Because of this, the next time I make these bars I might forgo the pre-baking to see if both layers will come out with the same texture. But even with the pre-baking, the result is delicious! I fully encourage you to try this recipe whether you require a gluten-free diet or not. It is simply amazing! And if you ever find yourself in the Seattle area, I also highly recommend a quick trip down to Haley’s Corner Bakery, the home of the perfect raspberry almond bar and so many other delectable gluten-free treats!
Raspberry Almond Bars
Slightly adapted from Taste of Home
Yield: 12 servings
1/2 cup butter
1 package (10-12 ounces) white chocolate chips, divided
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup GF Flour Mix*
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raspberry preserves, warmed
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat and add 1 cup white chocolate chips. Let stand, without stirring, to soften chips.
In a bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar; beat until thickened and lemon-colored. Beat in chip mixture and extract. Combine flour, xanthan gum, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.
Spread half of the batter into a greased 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan. Bake at 325 F for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Spread raspberry preserves over warm crust. Stir remaining white chocolate chips into the batter. Spoon over raspberry layer. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.
*GF Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch