The occasional celebrity recipe added a certain cachet to community cookbooks. After visiting the Neshoba County Fair (billed as Mississippi's Giant Houseparty) during Ronald Reagan's 1980 bid for the presidency, Nancy shared this supreme creation. The buttery layers of shortbread and fruit topped with crisp meringue definitely get our vote. From Giant Houseparty Cookbook by The Philadelphia-Neshoba County Chamber of Commerce.
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (10-oz.) jar seedless raspberry preserves
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans, lightly toasted
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil; lightly grease foil. Beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until well blended. Add egg yolks, and beat until combined. Gradually add flour, beating at low speed 1 to 2 minutes or just until combined. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.
Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and spread preserves over crust. Sprinkle with chocolate morsels.
Beat egg whites and salt at high speed, using whisk attachment, until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating until glossy and stiff peaks form. Fold in pecans. Gently spread egg white mixture over chocolate mixture.
Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until meringue is browned and crispy. Cool completely on a wire rack (1 hour). Cut into bars.
Note: We tested with Dickinson's Pure Seedless Cascade Mountain Red Raspberry Preserves.
From Giant Houseparty Cookbook by The Philadelphia-Neshoba County Chamber of Commerce.
These bar cookies are phenomenal! They are good on the first day, but perfect on the 2nd day. The meringue becomes dry and crunchy on the 2nd day and a perfect compliment to the other parts of this cookie. I will definitely be making these again!
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