Chocolate Raspberry Bars

I am really, truly bad at baking. I don’t like to follow instructions. But this is the easiest dessert ever, and it’s both gluten-free (if you want it to be) and fracking delicious!

Get your mits on these:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour or gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter or unsalted margarine
  • At least 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • A medium-size jar of raspberry jam with seeds
  • Confectioners sugar for the top, if desired

I have adapted this recipe from one in Cooking Light. This is super easy. Ready?

Grease a glass dish with a bit of the butter or margarine (I think mine is about 14″ x 8″). Next, melt the stick of butter in the microwave. I do this in a glass measuring cup, and it takes about a minute plus some stirring if the butter comes straight from the fridge (less if it doesn’t–keep an eye on it). Put this into a bowl with the brown sugar, and mix the two together completely using a spoon–some pressing with the back of the spoon will probably be necessary. Use your muscles! Now add the flour, oats, baking soda and salt to the same bowl, and mix everything together with your hands.

Press half of this mixture into the bottom of the greased dish with your hands, so that the layer is about 1/8″ thick (make sure there are no holes). Now spread a layer of jam, however thick you desire, onto it. This is the hard part, if there has to be a hard part, because the bottom layer won’t stay put without a fight. A knife is too flat, so use a spoon or a rice paddle. Be resilient and stand your ground, then add the chocolate chips to the other half of the dry mixture, toss it with your hands, and crumble it on top of the raspberry jam layer. Bake this for 30 minutes at 350°F, setting the oven to broil for the last two minutes in order to brown the top (be careful, watch it closely so it doesn’t burn–it’s only two minutes; you can do it).

The dish needs to cool before the bars can be cut without falling apart (though I have been known to eat it that way out of desperation for chocolate). If you want to speed post-processing up a bit, put a towel under the dish and stick it in the fridge, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Don’t let it sit in there too long, though, or your jam layer will get tough. Once it’s cool, sprinkle the top with confectioners sugar if you want it to be a bit sweeter. Don’t like raspberry jam? I’ve done this with fig, and am planning to do it with apricot. I’m sure almost any jam will work just fine.

There you have it. Now go forth and make bars!

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