“Raptures”: Chocolate-Strawberry-Banana Shortbread Bars…

Yes, you will experience rapture when you bite into these sweet, smooth, chocolaty, shortbread bars.  Plus, it’s one of the greatest Blondie songs of all time, and Blondie were one of the greatest punk bands of all time, so it’s alllll coming together, eh?  Witness The Raptures: Chocolate-Strawberry-Banana Shortbread Bars…

"Hang each night in rapture..."

"Hang each night in rapture..."

Aaah, yes,  Are you ready?  Are you drooling?  This one borrows a bit from Paula Deen‘s Orange Citrus Dessert Bars (the shortbread part) and a bit from many recipes by my all-time cooking idol, Ina Garten (the chocolate part), and of course the rest is all PUNKY.  Come with me…

Serves: 8-10

TOOLS:
Mixing Bowl
Pastry Cutter thingy (see picture, below)
Baking pan (13 x 9 x 2)
Big knife
Spoon
Spatula
Measuring cup
Sifter (optional – and I don’t have one, so there.)

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups flour
Powdered confectioners sugar (1/2 cup plus a little bit more)
1 cup cold butter, cubed
6oz (1 small package) semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon ground/instant coffee
20 strawberries
1 banana
Sugar
Lemon juice

RECIPE:
Okay, people, I know it looks gourmet, but this one is simple.  First we make the shortbread, then we melt and spread the chocolate, then we add the fruit.  VOILA!  Now if that ain’t punky, I don’t know what is.

First, the “Paula” part of the Rapture: the shortbread!

Preheat the oven to 325º.

Pour 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup confectioners powdered sugar into your mixing bowl.  (Is confectioners sugar always powdered?  Is powdered sugar always confectioners?  Get back to me on this one, people.)  Mix them together with your fancy pastry cutter thingy.  Then cut your cup of cold butter (a half-sized stick) into cubes and drop them in.

See the butter?  See the cutter?

See the butter? See the cutter?

I got this thing specifically to make this shortbread.  It’s a few bucks at Bed Bath and Beyond.  Believe me, if you ever make anything with shortbread, you will be so glad you did.  I mean hey, you can use a fork instead, knock yourself out, but you certainly won’t be playing any guitar after you destroy your wrist doing it that way.

And Paula would like to make sure that we use COLD butter for this.  I can’t remember why, (steam, maybe?), but I once tried it with room temp butter (I got lazy coming back from the grocery store.  So sue me.) and the shortbread was more like a dense CRACKER.  I think I chipped a tooth on that one.  So keep it cold, keep it bold, you’ll be sold.

Yeah good thing I’m not a rapper.  I’ll stick to punk.

Okay!  So you’ve been cutting and smushing and musheling for all you’re worth, and here’s what your crumbly “batter” looks like:

You call that "batter"??  Just bear with me, people.

You call that "batter"?? Just bear with me, people.

Spread this all out in your pan and flatten it with the back of a spatula or a necktie or the underside of your laptop – whatever works.  Just try to make it as even as possible, okay?

Sorry - got so excited I forgot to turn the picture around.  Trippy, eh?

Sorry - got so excited I forgot to turn the picture around. Trippy, eh?

Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown and the rest looks – well – done enough.  You don’t want to overdo this, or it’ll be too dry later.  The amazing thing about the Raptures is that the shortbread is actually a little bit moist, it’s really sink-your-teeth-into-able, if you know what I mean.

STEP 1: FINIS!

Maybe this is the "Blondie" part of the Raptures?

Great – that’s Step 1: FINIS!

While this cools, it’s time to melt the chocolate.  If you put chocolate directly in a hot pan, it’ll just stick, so instead we melt it in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  This is the INA part of the Raptures.  Ina can often be seen melting chocolate chips and chocolate chunks in a bowl over simmering water.  And we LOVE Ina, so let’s do it too!  Pour just an inch of water into a small saucepan and let it come to a boil.  Place a bowl over the opening and pour in your package of chocolate chips and your teaspoon of coffee.

Not a great picture, but I wanted to show-off my Mickey Mouse oven mit from Disneyworld.

Not a great picture, but I wanted to show-off my Mickey Mouse oven mit from Disney World. Who's cool NOW, eh?

Actually, wearing a mit is a good idea here, as the steam will escape from time to time and TOTALLY BURN YOU BAD, DUDE.  (Spoken like someone who’s been there.  Trust me.)  Here’s a better pic:

Ahh, that's better.

Ahh, that's better.

And I’m sure you can guess this next part.  Just stir occasionally until all the chocolate melts and the coffee blends in a bit.  Mine didn’t get totally smooth, but that’s ok.  It’s all about the FLAVOR, peeps.  And as Ina always reminds us, coffee brings out the flavor of the chocolate.  I know, I know, I thought the same thing.  I thoughts me, “WHAA??”  But I tried it, and lemme tell you, Ina is right.  The flavor is amazing with a little coffee thrown in.  Once again, Ina Garten is my idol.  (Please take me to your house, Ina.  I promise to clean your pots.)

NOW, I'm really drooling...

NOW, I'm really drooling...

Look closely and you can see the texture of the coffee grounds in there.  It’s allll goood.

We’re up to the spread and place section of this rapturous recipe.  This is going pretty well, wouldn’t you say?  Not too bad.  Not like those f&$#ng Napoleon Dynamites I put you through.  (They were good though.)

With your spatula, (or laptop case), spread the chocolate across the shortbread.  It won’t go far – you’ll get just a nice, thin layer across the whole thing, leaving an edge around the – um – edge.  Spread it out as much as you can, but be delicate.  That shortbread can crumble!

Um, drooling more now.

Um, drooling more now.

Step 2: FINIS!

OKAY!  Now it’s fruit time.  Cut your 20 strawberries in half and place them in a small bowl with some sugar on top.  (I love Sugar in the Raw – it’s just so crunchy and earthy and — okay I just grossed myself out.)  Mix it in – the sugar will draw the juice out of the strawberries and sweeten them up.

(Really, Punky Chef?  The sugar will SWEETEN something?  Amazing.)

(Shut up.)

Like you didn't know what strawberries in a bowl look like.

Like you didn't know what strawberries in a bowl look like.

Slice your banana in about 20 pieces:

Another gratuitous fruit picture, courtesy of Punky Chef.

Another gratuitous fruit picture, courtesy of Punky Chef.

Place the banana slices in a bowl and this time you’re adding a squirt of lemon juice as well as sugar.  The acid in the lemon juice keeps the banana from turning brown.  (And yes, I should use a real lemon from the Farmers Market, but they go bad before I use them up, so I just buy the plastic do-hickeys from the supermarket.  I know it’s bad.  I know.  But at least I recycle and unplug things at night.)

And now we PLACE!  You are doing so well, my friends.  Look how quickly we’ve gotten to this point!

(Don’t patronize us, Punky.)

(Sorry.)

So I made rows with my fruit, but of course you can make flowers, hearts, circles, faces, anything you like.  You can also of course use blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries.  Just remember, it’s going to mix with chocolate, so maybe like grapes and pineapple would be weird?  Then again, with chocolate, can you really go wrong?

It's like a gosh darn American flag!  Paula would be so proud...

It's like a gosh darn American flag! Paula would be so proud...

Actually, there was some method to my madness here – I wanted a design that would work well when cut into squares.  If you make flowers and hearts, but then cut squares out, everybody might not get the same amount of fruit on their pieces.  Then again if you’re inviting some people over whom you don’t like very much, maybe you’re psyched about that.  Which begs the question, how much free time do you have that you bother to spend it with people whom you don’t like?  Or do you just have low standards?  What is UP with you, anyway?

Wow.  I got seriously carried away there.

(Yes you did.)

Okay!  Well back to the project at hand… THE RAPTURE.  You’re basically done – just cut that baby into squares and lay ’em out on a plate for the world to see.  Sprinkle a little more confectioners-powdered-confection-powder sugar on top, for extra mouth-watering rapturousness, and SERVE and ENJOY!

Sing it like Debbie Harry, people: "RAAAA-AAAPTUURE!"

Sing it like Debbie Harry, people: "RAAAA-AAAPTUURE!"

The sweet even taste of the shortbread is a perfect compliment to the rich chocolate and tangy sweet fruit.  One bite takes you from bananas in chocolate to strawberries in chocolate and back again.  It is a true RAPTURE in your mouth, people.

(ONE NOTE: The very last last step, the powdered sugar, is where a little sifter would come in handy, to “dust” the Raptures lightly.  As you can see, I don’t have one, so my sugar is kinda lumpy and uneven.  Still tempting, but not quite an A+, if I do say so myself.  I just took a spoon of the stuff and tapped it gently to get the sugar to fall.  Maybe pinching it with your fingers would be better?  Dunno.  After you look up the cold butter thing, check on this too, please.  I expect a full report by the morning.)

And speaking of MORNING, you can have a Rapture the next day for breakfast, and another one for lunch after that, and dinner after that, and–  In other words, these little yummies keep very well in the fridge for a few days.  You’ll be surprised at how chewable the shortbread remains, and of course the chocolate when cold only holds the fruit better.

“The chocolate when cold only holds the fruit better”?  Wow.  Now that’s a song lyric if ever Punky heard one.  Enjoy the Raptures–  I gotta go grab my guitar!

wuv,
Sam

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    William said,

    How can I possibly focus on work with this on my mind? 🙂

  2. 2

    duodishes said,

    Mmmmm yum! We believed you when you say they were delish. Your arrangement is oh so lovely!

  3. 3

    Food n Fitness said,

    WOW these look amazing!


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