raspberry coconut bars.

Is it awful that for Mother’s Day this year all I wanted was a few hours completely to myself in which to bake delicious morsels and madly snap photographs of my sweet creations? It’s not that I don’t fully enjoy a rollicking day with the family, but (in my view) Mother’s Day should be the one day a year that mamas get to do whatever they want: sleep until the sun is high in the sky, relish in a total lack of distraction… and focus on nurturing yourself, just for one day.

And yesterday, (Mother’s Day) I was craving a sleep-in, a little bit of solitude to bake myself into a tizzy and snap oodles of photos of my tasty treats, and then spend the rest of the day with my girls and number one guy.

And that’s exactly what I got: thanks babe.

Macaroon Jam and Shorbread Sandwich

a few easy steps to this delicately delicious Mother's Day dessert.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve crafted a variation of a recipe found in an old, staple-bound church cookbook that my mother inherited from her mother; a cookbook lovingly compiled by a community of strong, devoted and talented Cape Breton mothers. The result? Buttery shortbread that meets the crimson zing of raspberry, all swathed in a chewy, coconut-crusted macaroon topping.

Raspberry Coconut Macaroon Squares

with the melt-in-your-mouth buttery base, the flavor-packed chewy middle and delicate outer crunch, these squares wont last long.

Raspberry Coconut Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F


Bottom Layer

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar


1 cup raspberry jam

Top Layer

2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups long thread coconut
½ tsp almond extract
½ baking powder
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Raspberry Jam on Shortbread Base

jammin'! spoon dollops of jam all over the shortbread base and spread carefully.


Bottom Layer

  1. Combine all three top layer ingredients in a food processor or medium bowl; pulse (or mix) until the mixture is crumbly and resembles rough cornmeal.
  2. Press mixture into an ungreased 9×9-inch pan; bake in preheated (350 degree F) oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack; leave the oven on, at temperature.


  1. Dollop spoonfuls of jam all over the (baked) bottom layer; distribute roughly evenly and spread carefully.
Making the coconut macaroon topping

i never cease to be amazed: it's magical how a few simple ingredients can be transformed so dramatically.

Top Layer

  1. In medium bowl, beat eggs until frothy using a hand- or standing mixer (or you can give your arms a workout and use a heavy duty whisk). Beat in sugar, coconut, almond extract, baking powder and flour; be sure to mix well.
  2. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the topping evenly over the jam filling; spread delicately with a knife or spatula to fill in any gaps, being careful not to flip over any jam onto the top layer.

    Assembling the Raspberry Coconut Macaroon Bars

    yummy assembly line.

  3. Bake in preheated (350 degree F) oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Cool.
  4. Cut into squares; the topping will crackle a bit when you cut them — no worries: just enjoy the mind-blowing taste.
Raspberry Coconut Macaroon Bars

perfect for tea time, mother's day, bridal and baby showers... or just because.



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  1. Jenna

    I was really excited to make these and followed the directions to a T…but the jam bubbled right through the topping while it cooked, discolouring them brown/red. Is there any way to prevent this??

    • sweetgirl

      Hmmm. Sometimes that will happen around the edges, but I haven’t had it happen all over. I would try using less jam next time and be careful about “sealing” any holes in the topping over the jam.

  2. I just love your photography and recipes! Just discovered you while looking for a honey zucchini bread:)

  3. Amy Kraft

    ½ baking powder???


  4. Ummmm….so you found this in a CB church cookbook? Been looking for a similar recipe we always called “Maids of Honour”….my sis’s CB’ner mom-in-law had an awesome recipe which she took to her grave…refused to give it out. So glad I found this. I’m making it tonight, and I’m already breaking one rule, based on other shortbread-crust-based-squares that I’ve made.(In years past, I always baked crust first, but in recent, I don’t, as I find the crust get overdone. Not sure if this is because of some change in our flour, etc., my Mom and sister have had the same issues.) Anyhow, just curious where you are from? What with CB roots, myself and all. And if you’ve ever tried making these without baking the shortbeard first. Also, if you did grow up in cb, ever hear of “Twinkle”? It seems to me that my sis’s mom-in-law used to buy some kind of coconut blend in CB that she used in her special recipe – never found it myself, though….Thanks!

  5. Sounds like a delicious combination – I love raspberry & coconut.

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