Staving off the post-Halloween blues takes some effort, so this morning Fuzz and I cheered ourselves up by trying a new recipe. These are called “Vienna Bars” and are said to have been a favorite of Ronald Reagan.
This version is a small batch and calls for an 8 inch square pan. You can double it and use a 13×9. I liked these better after they’d been chilled because the chocolate firmed up a bit. The bars have a short, buttery bottom layer, a soft, preserve filled second layer, and a crispy light top layer of meringue which I keep breaking off and eating every time I walk past the refrigerator.
- 1 stick (4 oz) salted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided use
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided use
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup cold raspberry pie filling or seedless preserves (use less if you feel like it)
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (leave out if you want)
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with nonstick foil.
- With an electric mixer, beat butter, 1/4 cup of the sugar, egg yolks (reserve whites) and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla and salt. Stir in flour and cornstarch. If necessary, use your hands to mix all ingredients, but do not over beat. Press into bottom of lined pan and bake for 18 minutes or until lightly brown around edges.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Spread cold (this helps keep the chocolate morsels from melting too much) raspberry pie filling or preserves over crust. Sprinkle chocolate morsels over raspberry filling.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until peaks are stiff. Beat in vanilla.
- Spread the egg white mixture over raspberries and chocolate. Return to oven and bake for about 22-25 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Using parchment as handle, lift from pan. Cut into 12 squares.