Chocolate Raspberry Cookie Bars

I'm on a roll with the Valentines Day theme!  And, I'd recommend catching the start of it with my Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip...

I have to tell you I was inspired to make these when I saw the Chocolate Cookie Dough base over at Gingerbread Bagels website.  Even her pink frosting inspired my idea to come up with something a little more Valentines-ey.  You know?

Because some lucky ladies get Chocolate Covered Strawberries and such.  Whatever.

And, restaurants seem to have their obligatory Valentines dessert... Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Coulis or something.  You get it.  I get it.  Chocolate and Red Fruit.

I went with Raspberries.  The weird thing is I'm not even a fan of raspberries.  Mostly because I'm annoyed that restaurants assume I want them with my chocolate dessert.

It makes my plate sooooo pretty, yes, but as a chocolate lover I say just give me my chocolate.  You keep your fruit.


But, since I was obviously mentally prepared to enjoy a Chocolate-Raspberry dessert - these are perfectly divine.

Chocolate Raspberry Cookie Bars
adapted from Gingerbread Bagels 

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* Make your raspberry sauce first.  This way it can cool while you make and bake the cookie base.
* Other than bananas, I recommend organic fresh fruit.  I tend to get what I can find on sale, and I was in luck with the raspberries this week!
* You can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder if you don't have dutch-processed. I buy this
at Meijer's.
* Espresso powder is optional.  Use Starbuck's Via, Italian Roast if you can't find espresso powder or omit it all together!
* I find wetting my hands is the easiest way to push dough evenly into your pan.
* I baked my cookie base for 18 minutes.

- 2 c. all purpose flour
- 3/4 c. dutch-processed cocoa
- 1/2 Tbsp. espresso powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, (3/4 cup)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

*Before you start the bars, I recommend you scroll down and prepare your raspberry sauce for the buttercream first.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Sift flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, approx. 6 min.  Scrape down the bowl.  Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition at medium speed.  Add vanilla and combine well.

With mixer on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients.  Stir until flour is incorporated, do not over mix.

Press cookie dough into pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire rack before adding buttercream.

Raspberry Buttercream
adapted from A Farmgirl Dabbles

- 12 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen

In a medium saucepan cook raspberries over medium heat, stirring and mashing constantly until the raspberries are broken down and all you have is seeds and some pulp.  Strain sauce into a bowl to remove seeds and pulp, pour raspberry sauce back into pot.

Simmer sauce until it reduces/thickens until you have a 1/4 c.  Set aside and cool completely, otherwise your butter will melt or curdle.

- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 c. raspberry sauce
- 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 3 Tbsp. heavy cream or milk (use less or none depending on how you like the texture)
- sprinkles (optional)

In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter with paddle attachment on medium-high speed.  Add 2 c. powdered sugar, and mix until fluffy.  With mixer on low, add the 1/4 c. reduced raspberry sauce, lemon juice and salt.  Increase speed and beat on high until smooth.  Scrape down bowl, add remaining 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, mix until smooth.  Scrape down bowl, mix on low, add milk or cream if you want a creamier consistency, beat on high until creamy.

Using an offset spatula, spread raspberry buttercream evenly over cooled bars.  Add sprinkles if desired.



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