I've been baking and freezing lots of holiday goodies in anticipation of the "Great Cookie Box Assembly Day". Most cookies and bars freeze quite well and its helpful for me to bake ahead (when time allows) and then box and wrap them right before delivering to friends and family.
Here's one of my recipes that shows up in every Christmas cookie box. It's an easy to make bar cookie that's packed with delicious raspberry jam and hearty oats. Over the years I've noticed that the quality of jam really makes a huge difference in the flavor. I only use Bon Maman Raspberry Preserves or homemade if I have it on hand. And please feel free to adjust the amount of almond extract to your taste.
Raspberry & Almond Oatmeal Bars
1 1/4 c. flour
1 1/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 jar (13oz) best quality raspberry jam
1/2 c. sweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 baking pan.
Mix together flour, oats, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix until blended into dry ingredients. Cut butter into small pieces and using a pastry cutter or fork, mix in with the dry ingredients. Mixture will be very crumbly.
Reserve 1 cup of crumb mixture and add in 1/2 c. coconut. Set aside.
Press remaining mix into the bottom of the pan. Spread jam evenly over the crust. Then top with remaining coconut crumb mix.
Bake for 23-27 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool. Cut into bars.
Makes 18-24 bars. Enjoy!