For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share something that was a little bit different than what one might typically imagine making for this holiday. Valentine’s Day treats don’t have to be heart shaped like me sweetheart cookies or chocolate or red velvet (not that those are bad things). My thoughts turned instead to two flavors that complement one another like the best sweethearts do. It was then that I remembered these raspberry coconut squares.
Back in the 1980s, my mom’s friend gave her this recipe. As a kid, I thought they sounded terrible. Raspberry? Coconut? What was wrong with brownies? I quickly realized the error of my ways and began my deep love of baking with both raspberry and coconut.
What makes these squares so good is the balance of textures and tastes. The jam is still a little gooey, the crust tender, and the coconut contrasts with both of those textures. The raspberry is a bit tart, the coconut a bit sweet, and the crust provides a nice buttery foundation. To me, these squares are also a bit nostalgic while using one of the more popular ingredients and flavors of the moment, coconut. For all of these reasons–balance of textures, balance of flavors, something old made new again, and a hit of red–I think these are a perfect Valentine’s Day treat. I hope you do too.
Raspberry Coconut Squares
For the crust:
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 egg
For the topping:
- ½ cup seedless red raspberry jam
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter (or use baking spray) a 9 x 13-inch pan.
- Whisk flour, ½ cup sugar, and salt in a bowl.
- Cut in the butter until particles are fine.
- Add one lightly-beaten egg and stir to mix until incorporated.
- Press gently into the prepared pan.
- Stir the jam with a fork until it is a bit loose and easy to spread.
- Spread jam on the crust.
- Cream the softened butter and ¾ cup of sugar.
- Mix in 3 eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition.
- Beat mixture until light and creamy.
- Add coconut and mix well.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden.
- Cool on a wire rack.