Tag Archives: Christmas Cookie Trays

Your Tray or Mine: Old World Raspberry Bars

10 Dec


In keeping with my promise to do one bar recipe each Sunday, here is today’s recipe.

Old World Raspberry Bars original recipe card

Here’s the original recipe that I work from when I make these! It’s funny to see my old handwriting and maiden name!

This is such an old recipe that I’ve been making since I was in elementary school. When I was in about 4th grade the Girl Scouts had a bake off and I won twice with this recipe. When I make them, I still read off a photocopy of the original recipe card that I wrote out for the contest. It’s funny to see my 4th gr. handwriting and my maiden name at the top. You can use raspberry, strawberry, or apricot jelly. These are fast and easy and only have a few ingredients. I make them several times each holiday season. A friend of mine even melts chocolate and drizzles it over the top before cutting.


2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup margarine (2 sticks)
1 egg

Filling: 12 oz. raspberry jelly (seedless works well) or choose your own flavor


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

This recipe says to grease an 8 x 12 pan, but I use 11×7. You probably could use 9 x 13, they’d just be thinner.

Mix together all ingredients EXCEPT jelly.

Beat at low speed, scraping sides of bowl occasionally until evenly mixed.

Reserve approx. 1 cup of mixture, set aside.

Alex and Caroline making Raspberry Squares

This recipe has lots of opportunities for the kids to help out including measuring the ingredients and putting the dough and jam into the dish.

Press remaining mixture into baking dish.

Spread jelly within 1/2″ of edges.

Crumble (break into little pieces and drop them all over the top) the remaining 1 cup of batter over the jelly.

Bake at 350 degrees 42-50 minutes until lightly brown around the edges.

Cool completely and cut into bars.


**When I originally typed this, I typed two and one half cups of flour, but it was a typo! Should be two and one quarter cups of flour. I caught it the day it posted, but I hope I didn’t cause anyone to mess up their batter! My apologies…

Raspberry Squares before they're baked

This is how the raspberry squares look just before going into the oven….

Baked raspberry squares

….and how they look when they come out, nice and brown around the edges!

Apricot bars

Here’s the apricot version of these bars, just as delicious!

Crafts for Kids: Story for the day today: You Can Do It, Sam

7 Dec

Today I posted a recipe for my brother’s favorite cookies, Brown Eyed Susans and I talked about how each of us in our family has a favorite cookie on the trays so that you can’t ever think of leaving one out or someone will be disappointed.

As a kid, we lived on a “country road” where the houses were kind of spread apart and our neighbors were sometimes down a long and winding road, or in a house we couldn’t see, even though they were nearby. On Christmas Eve each year, my brother and I would walk up and down the road, up and down the long, winding driveways for hours, delivering our trays of cookies to our neighbors. Some of these people we wouldn’t see very often during the year, even though we were neighbors, but everyone knew that on Christmas Eve Chris and I would be coming around with the cookie trays.

Elephant Ears were always Mr. Lussier's favorite.

It would take us hours because it wasn’t just a drop and run, it was a stop, stay and chat, and watch as the neighbors would exclaim over the cookie trays because they’d been waiting all year for their favorite cookie. I remember our one neighbor, Mr. Lussier, his favorites were Elephant Ears, and my mom only made just so many of those so each tray would get ONE Elephant Ear. The Lussiers knew that one cookie belonged to Mr. Lussier. As labor-intensive as those were, we could never leave them out or Mr. Lussier would be disappointed.

These memories of delivering the cookies are so, so special to me, I almost get choked up as I type this. Many of those people are now long gone, and my parents have since moved as well, but the memories…they stay forever and every single year when I make my cookies, I think of them fondly. It gets me through those moments at midnight the week before Christmas when I think to myself, “Why the heck am I doing this again?” Then I remember how much these cookies mean to the people we give them to, and how much the memories mean to me as well.

Today’s story is one that was given to my kids for Christmas in 2008 by my brother Chris and his wife, Nina, so I thought it was only appropriate to share today. It’s called “You Can Do It, Sam,” by Amy Hest and illustrated by Anita Jeram. Ours even came with a plush of the main character, courtesy of the Kohl’s Cares for Kids program that year. It’s about a mother bear and her baby bear, Sam. Together they make many cakes for their neighbors on Plum Street. Together they bake and together they wait as the cakes finish. And then, together, they put the cakes into bags for their neighbors. Sam is now old enough to deliver the cakes to the neighbors himself, as his mom waits in the truck for him as he delivers all twelve cakes to his neighbors.

It’s such a special story and it is so special that it was given to us by my brother and his wife, because whether they knew it at the time or not, it invokes such special memories for me of our days together, delivering our cookies to our neighbors. It’s a book to teach my kids about the special meaning behind baking for others, behind giving a piece of yourself to others, and creating memories of our own as a family during a crazy holiday season.