One of Chicago’s most famous pastry chefs until his death in 2011, Lutz Olkiewicz was sweets master at the Drake hotel for 25 years, followed by corporate pastry-chefdom at Sara Lee. Although known for complicated treats, Lutz worked wonders with simple desserts, too…like these Raspberry Nut Delight bar cookies. Built on a butter crust with red raspberry filling and a chewy coconut/walnut topping, the bars are easy to make, with great texture and taste. Olkiewicz shared the recipe in a community cookbook 23 years ago, to benefit childrens charities.
Makes 1, half-sheet pan of cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter
- one jar raspberry preserves
- 1 1/2 cups firmly-packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
- 3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup all-purposed flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- Place oven rack in the center of oven. Preheat oven to 350.
- Make crust: In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter cut in small pieces and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand
- Cover a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350 for 15 to 18 minutes until lightly browned. Cool pan on wire rack. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Heat raspberry preserves until they are more spreadable, about 1 minute a 50% heat in microwave. Spread over crust.
- Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
- Make topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat brown sugar, eggs and vanilla with paddle attachment at high speed for five minutes until light and fluffy. Mix in walnuts, coconut and flour, baking powder and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl while mixing to make sure all is incorporated. Spread batter over preserves on crust.
- Bake at 325 for 35 minutes until top is brown and center is firm. Transfer pan to wire cooling rack. Cool 35 minutes. Cut into squares with a sharp, thin bladed knife.