This recipe was clipped from a newspaper many years ago by my mom and instantly became a family “must have” every Christmas! Its original source for the article was a White House chef – purportedly this was Nancy Reagan’s favorite cookie when she resided as First Lady. Whatever your politics, Whig or Tory (?), I think it could become a favorite of yours as well!
I can easily imagine (were such things part of festivities in late Georgian England) that Fitzwilliam Darcy might have directed his own cooks to produce these bars for his guests at Pemberley, in A Fitzwilliam Legacy. They absolutely appeal to a discerning palate: a delectable marriage of chocolate, raspberry and almonds. A rich indulgence indeed!
1 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks (save the whites)
2-1/2 cups flour
10-12 ounces seedless raspberry jam
1+ cup chocolate chips
4 large egg whites (use extra 2 yolks for another recipe)
2 cups finely chopped almonds
1 cup sugar
Confectioner’s sugar (to dust on top of finished pan)
COOKIE BASE: Combine butter and 1/2 cup sugar, mix with a wooden spoon until creamy. (Can use mixer also) Beat the salt and yolks into this. Mix in the flour, then knead it until a smooth dough forms. Pat into a greased 11×17 jelly-roll pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until just starting to get golden. Remove from oven.
‘FILLING’: Spread the (hot) cookie base with raspberry jam, then sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. (The original recipe said to do the chips first to help them melt, but it makes the jam harder to spread evenly, and I have found no difference in the final taste.)
TOPPING: In a separate deep bowl, beat the four egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks hold. Mix together the almonds and sugar, and fold this into the egg whites with a metal spoon or rubber spatula. Gently spread the mixture over the top of the cookie base. Return to the oven and bake about 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
Remove from oven – plan pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Sprinkle tops with confectioner’s sugar. Cut into squares while still warm – and then try to pace yourself as to leave some for company when it comes.