Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

April 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm 110 comments

Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

I was almost fooled by the week of sunny weather Seattle’s seen, but the rain has finally begun to pour.

Just last week, the cherry blossom trees stretched over my head in airy, arching bloom, but these days I have to duck to avoid the low branches laden with water. Rain streaks down the windows, bathing everything in a steely blue glow. Umbrellas pop open like strange flowers when I walk outside. In the mornings I wear red rain boots to class, and in the evenings I fall asleep with the sound of rain in my hair.

I usually like this kind of weather, but right now, I can’t stand it. I’m impatient for summer. Impatient for dusty sidewalk chalk and melting Creamsicles, but mostly for everything summer represents – freedom, relaxation. No stress. There are only two months to go, but I don’t think I can make myself wait.

I am tired of being patient.

Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

I was patient all through Christmas break, through the slush of February and the bitter chill of March. Four months to go until college letters… now two months… one month to go… Every day I switched between cheery confidence and desperate doubt. It was like picking petals off a daisy – they’ll accept me, they’ll accept me not

After months of waiting, I finally received the last of my college decisions yesterday. Of the eight schools I applied to, I was accepted at five. I was waitlisted at two very good universities. But the only school I really wanted to go to, the only school that could stir any passion in me at all, was the last one to send out decisions.

The whole day was simply killing time. I came home early and found that I had nothing to do. I ate a banana. I checked the mailbox (it was empty.) I read a book of short stories without understanding any of them. When the decision was available online, my brain staggered. I fumbled my way to the website and watched the page load with agonizing slowness.

Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

I skimmed the first line and immediately knew. The letter was brief, polite, encouraging. It was brutal.

I read it, read it again, read it a third time with burning eyes. Emotions passed through me like images on a strip of film – horror, confusion, anger, pain, exhaustion, heartache, sorrow – until I couldn’t feel anything and laid face down on my bed, overwhelmed. Then I cried until my skin was as taut and my body was as hollow as a drum.

Have you ever felt like you’ve been waiting patiently your whole life for something? Something to validate all the work you’ve done? That’s how I felt. I’m just so disappointed in myself and I can’t help but feel wounded and unsure. I curse the thought that my only outright rejection is the only one I can’t take. I keep thinking about what I could have done, how I could have been better. I know it’s useless, but you aren’t rational when your heart is breaking.

Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

I wish I could tell you that I’ve moved on, that the rain has cleared and I can smell summer around the bend and life is good. Not yet. It hasn’t hit me, but I know it will.

I didn’t break down today, as miserable as I felt every time I had to answer with that sad little smile, “Yep… rejected.” When I came home I wanted to be in the kitchen. And more than anything, I wanted to write. Typing out this post has been as good as Tylenol so far.

So much of my future is a mystery, but there are some things I can be certain of. Family, good food, and good company. I can be sure of ice cold lemonade in the summer to come and spiced pumpkin pie in the autumn to follow. I can be sure that luck will be with me wherever I go, though it may not always seem like luck at first, and that I will always have the patience to weather the wait.

Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

These bars come together and bake in no time at all. Instant gratification, no patience required. For now, I can be grateful for that.

[PS: Happy birthday Grandma. Love you.]

Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

These bars are really, really good. I’m still feeling pretty down. I could channel the hurt into a post, but I don’t really have the motivation to talk much about straight food. The bars are soft with slightly crisp edges and a bit of chew. The almond flavor is very good without being too overwhelming. Everybody liked the drops of blackberry jam and the pretty drizzle of icing. They went really quickly and I found them very addicting.

Blackberry Jam Almond Bars
Recipe barely adapted from Sophistimom
Makes a half sheet of bars

Bars
1 cup (2 sticks or 224g) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
4 eggs
3 cups (300g) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup seedless blackberry jam

Drizzle
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon pure almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a half sheet (13″x18″ rimmed sheet) with butter or nonstick spray.

Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Slowly add flour and salt, and mix until just incorporated.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan. It’s okay if you can’t quite get the corners, since it will spread during baking. Drop teaspoonfuls of jam evenly over the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

Allow to cool, then cut into squares (I used a pizza roller and a ruler to get even cuts.) Whisk together the powdered sugar, cream, and almond extract, and drizzle over the bars.

Printer-Friendly Recipe – Blackberry Jam Almond Bars

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Symphony of Sugar For the Love of Chocolate-Dipped, Almond-Orange Biscotti

110 Comments Add your own

  • 1. krystle  |  April 5, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I got into my first choice school, but the finanial aid package they offered me wasn’t even close to closing the gap of what my parents/I could afford and what they offered. I ended up going to a different school (more affordable). I’d love to say that the school was the perfect fit for me and I look back on it with fond memories – because I don’t. HOWEVER, while I was at that school I did have 2 amazing things happen to me. 1. I studied abroad, figured out who I was, and even met the man who now, 5 years later, I am engaged to; 2. I formed a friendship with a professor who would push me to educational/professional places I wouldn’t have imagined on my own. I believe that hard work yields great results, but I also believe that there’s a reason we all get put on specific paths.

    When I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to go to my ‘dream’ school, I did cry. And cry. And cried some more. But then I decided not to cry anymore. I do think it’s important that I took the time to be upset though – it felt so personal, so wrong, that I needed to get the emotions out. But do remember to stop crying. You (as everyone here has said) are incredibly talented. Which ever school you choose is going to be very lucky to have you. Good luck as you make a decision – remember, it’s a decision for 1 year…you can always make a different one later.

    Reply
  • 2. Lauren  |  April 5, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Oh Elissa, I am so sorry. I know it’s tough and this is the last thing you want to hear, but it is going to be okay. You are going to excel and succeed and create a fantastic life for yourself. This is just the beginning of it all.

    Reply
  • 3. Tay  |  April 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    College rejection isn’t the end of the world. Look at all the people who got rejected yet went on to do great things with their careers. I think MSN had a write up on it like a week or two ago. And, as they say, things happen for a reason. Maybe one of those other schools is exactly where you’re meant to land.

    Reply
  • 4. Sis  |  April 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Saturday I was getting ready to make something for Easter Sunday dessert at my parents, and thought about this. Although we like almond, we are bigger fans of lemon, so I substituted lemon extract for the almond extract in the bar, and lemon juice in the icing. I had blackberry jelly rather than jam, and used it the same way. It was wonderful! I’ll eventually try this again with almond extract but just had to tell you the lemon was so good.

    Hope you’re having a happier week. It took me 7 years to finish college, and I didn’t even have good enough grades to apply for vet school like I wanted, lol. Hang in there, you’re gonna be fine.

    Reply
  • 5. Gabrielle  |  April 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Elissa!
    I too am a high school senior, and know exactly how you feel. I was rejected from my two dream schools in 10 minutes on April 1st, and like you I found my kitchen to be so comforting around this time… I channeled my feelings into a new recipe for banana pudding pie :P I know people say it’s not healthy to eat your feelings… but it’s best not to listen to them (and if it’s homemade who really cares?).
    Enjoy your senior spring! I love your blog, and I can’t wait to see your future posts! Don’t stress about college you’re clearly very smart and I promise you’ll do wonderfully wherever you go :)
    -Gabrielle

    Reply
  • 6. Anna  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Hey, Elissa! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve actually commented BECAUSE………

    I, too am a high school senior, and I, too, went through the horror and torture that is called “the college admissions process.” I was accepted to 10 schools, but waitlisted at four, including my DREAM school, Brown. And my other two favorites are probably too expensive.

    Brown’s result was crushing. It was like I could TASTE it, I was SO close, ALMOST there. If I had just been born a year or two earlier, I probably would have been accepted. It’s still hard to comprehend and accept. So I don’t have any words of wisdom or life lessons to share, but I thought I’d comment to let you know that……there’s someone else, someone you will most likely never meet, who is feeling what you’re feeling (I was rejected at Yale, but….it’s Yale, so I wasn’t terribly surprised). I’m truly starting to believe that wherever any of us end up will be our NEW dream school. College is what you make of it, right?

    And I apologize if this is rude or nosy, but I am ridiculously curious by nature…may I ask what school it was? If it was an Ivy, I’ve decided that they just can’t appreciate awesome, creative, unique people :)

    Reply
    • 7. Elissa  |  April 5, 2010 at 8:15 pm

      Anna – Mine was Brown, too. But I wasn’t even waitlisted. :(

  • 8. Anna  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Oh, and when you talked about the “four months until…. two months…..” it was like reading my own thoughts! Seriously, it got ridiculous this winter. Every Thursday I mentally noted how many more weeks until April 1.

    Reply
  • 9. kamran siddiqi  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Elissa, I am so sorry. It’s tough, but honestly, from taking a look at your blog and after reading a few posts, you know something? They made a big mistake. A HUGE mistake! They missed out on a great person full of talent and enthusiasm.

    Please, look at it that way- they missed out on the experience and the pleasure of having you attend their school; not the other way around.

    The plus side to it all is that you shared a great recipe with all of us! I am swooning over these jam bars and am even thinking of making them right now.

    When I do make them, I’ll tell you how awesome they turned out! :)

    P.S. Great photos, great writing, great site!

    Reply
  • 10. Maria  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Try not to be down and out. Everything will work out for the best. It may seem difficult now, but keep pressing forward and good things will happen. You are amazing! Hang in there! And the bars look super fabulous!

    Reply
  • 11. Hannah  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I know how hard it is to get let down like that. It will all work out though, and you’ll end up in a place good for you. :)

    The bars look terrific, and your pictures are beautiful.

    Reply
  • 12. alice  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Someday the school who turned you down will be wishing they hadn’t. You have an amazing future ahead of you and I’m looking forward to following your journey.

    Reply
  • 13. Hillary  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Another excellent read. It’s a “retweeter” : )

    Have you decided what school will be 2nd best?

    Reply
  • 14. Jenny  |  April 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Hey, you’re going to do a bang-up job no matter where you are, and we’ll be cheering you on all the way. I’m not gonna say it’s for the best about school – it’s sucks, and if I said otherwise I’d be lying. But you make the best of the hand you’re dealt. I got accepted to my first choice, but my parents couldn’t really afford to send me and I couldn’t bear taking loans out that big. So I chose my state school, got by with no debt and the best education I could get from it. All my hardest lessons came after college anyway. College just taught me to think for myself, and if you’re so inclined, you’ll make it happen.
    Chin up, you did great. I’m sure your dad’s not going to know what to do when you’re away and not baking for him anymore.

    Jenny

    Reply
  • 15. HL  |  April 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I went through exactly what you are going through: I got rejected from what I thought was my dream school senior year, but I ended up going to a school in the same city, loving it and realizing it was probably a better choice for me along the way. I got rejected from its medical school recently, four years later, and it hurt worse the second time because now I am going to be forced to leave a city I adore. But I’m pretty sure it’s going to have the same result as my first rejection did, and I’m pretty sure the same thing will happen to you. Best of luck!

    Reply
  • 16. Jaime (Sophistimom)  |  April 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Oh, I am so sorry! That is the most horrible feeling in the whole world. But I am sure eventually, you will find that one of the colleges you were accepted to will be a better place than that (stupid, no good, they’ll be sorry later) college would have been for you.

    But I know none of that helps right now.

    Wish the jam bars would have helped more. :)

    Really, though. You are doing more than most adults accomplish with their time (blogging well is insanely talent/time-consuming, and most people who don’t do it well don’t have a clue). So I say, it’s that college’s loss, and the gain of whichever institution of higher education, that is privileged enough to receive YOUR letter of acceptance.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  • 17. Anna  |  April 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I know that nearly everyone who has commented has told you a similar story, and I’m sure you’ve got to be tired of them by now. I couldn’t let this post go by, though, without sharing mine – almost exactly the same situation. First-choice school rejected me after I had my heart set on going there, and I ended up at what was really, if I’d had to rank them, my fifth choice.

    I’m a sophomore right now, and I honestly cannot imagine being anywhere else in the world. I love this school and this community and these people I’ve met with all my heart. Everyone’s situation is different and I don’t know how yours will end up, but I wanted to add my voice to the multitude and let you know that more often than not, things work out for the best. :)

    Reply
  • 18. Kaitlin  |  April 6, 2010 at 6:36 am

    I know you’ve heard this all before, but I want to put in my two cents here:

    I am very sorry to hear that you didn’t get accepted to your college of choice, but I want you to know that I know you are going to have fun and be incredibly successful wherever you go. You are incredibly talented, and I am positive that you have got an amazing future ahead of you.

    Don’t let the fact that you aren’t attending the specific school you wanted to attend in the fall bother you. Just be happy for all of the new things you are going to experience in college and all of the amazing people you are going to meet. If you’re anything like me, these next years are going the best of your life, but you’ve got to start by being excited about what’s coming next!

    I’m (and I’m sure everyone else is, too) very excited for you, Elissa! You’re going to go far!

    Reply
  • 19. Mr D  |  April 6, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Talk about eliciting a response! Have a great trip, tell yourself that you rock and then tell yourself again! Then know it, then tell yourself again. Then swing by and I’ll tell you.
    Peace out
    Mr D

    Reply
  • 20. Donna  |  April 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Don’t let it get you down!! The exact same thing happened to my daughter-she had been accepted to all the schools she applied to but still hadn’t heard from her number one choice. My husband called the school to ask what was taking so long and they told him they had just posted the emails that morning. She did the same thing, went to the internet and bam- We’re sorry but you haven’t been accepted-many many tears ensued. BUT-after a good night sleep and a lot of prayer she realized that maybe that it just wasn’t in God’s plan for her-so she is going to her second choice school, which she now realizes was probably a better choice to begin with. She loved the area, loved the campus and the program-she just had in her mind that she wanted to go to school #1. So everything works out for a reason. Just realize that it has nothing to do with your abilities, sometimes there is no rhyme nor reason for their decisions. ps your cookies look fabulous :-)

    Reply
  • 21. Carrie  |  April 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    It sounds like I am late to the – what is meant to be, will be – party, but I am a true believer. I also was rejected from my most favorite college in the world (and worse, my best friend got in!)… or that’s what I thought. My most favorite college in the world ended up being the one I attended. I wouldn’t change up that experience for anything. I can almost guarantee you it will work out, as they say, for the best.

    Reply
  • 22. Anna  |  April 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Ahhhh, the cursed Brown. Thanks for sharing :) What are you hoping to major in at college? Again, I apologize. Terribly curious person. :/

    That school was my dream, but maybe it’s just not…meant to be? I feel so cheesy and almost dishonest saying that, because I haven’t come to that “peace” yet. It’s been really hard trying to tell myself that I didn’t really love Brown that much (and it was hard to tell all of my male friends who had their hearts set on meeting Emma Watson). I keep lurking the Brown website, swooning over it, before I tell myself that it’s not going to happen, that they just didn’t want me. I cried, a lot. I still keep thinking, “What would that ONE hook have been….?”

    Basically, I’m rambling incoherently right now. It’s just nice finding someone who loved the school like I did and is hurt, too. I mean, the school had 30,000 applications this year–a really freakishly huge increase. I guess we were just born in the wrong year! :(

    And, as my mom said, “Demi Moore’s daughter goes there, and she probably paid to get in! Did you really want to go to THAT kind of school?!?” Moms are just trying to help, I suppose. :)

    Screw Brown, you are far too awesome for them. I keep telling myself that in five years, I’ll look back and laugh that I even got upset. But right now it still hurts. :/ Uh-oh, tears welling…. :P

    I apologize. “Concise” and “sensical” are not in my vocabulary.

    Reply
  • 23. Anna  |  April 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    And it’s also hard being told that if you work REALLY hard and “dream,” if you dedicate yourself and are patient, then you’ll reach your goal and get what you want. Except……that didn’t exactly happen for me. Frustrating, as you said so much more eloquently.

    Reply
  • 24. Ana  |  April 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    uhm I want to eat! Looks amazing!

    Reply
  • 25. Sara  |  April 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Elissa,
    When I stumbled upon 17 and Baking at the beginning of this year, I was immediately drawn in because of my own love for writing and photography. Now I read it all the time! I can’t say I’ve attempted too much baking, but this certainly has inspired me.Your flowing writing style, stunning photos, and thoughtful insights add a special touch to your entertaining, true-to-life posts.
    Maybe it’s crazy for me to think that I could relate to you about college, as I have just turned sixteen, but throughout the past two years, I have watched my brother walk a road full of endless applications, lengthily essays, nerve-wracking interviews and tours, and doubt and uncertainty about decisions and the future. As the time for him to make his decision rapidly approaches, I can sense his stress. I may not fully understand until it’s my turn to make the decision, but I want you to know that I think you’ll do great wherever you end up going to school and whatever you end up doing.

    Reply
  • 26. Sara  |  April 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Sorry to keep rambling, but I accidentally clicked the “submit” button before I had finished my already-lengthy post! All I wanted to say was that I feel that you will succeed because of the positive outlook that seems to radiate through all of your posts– this one in particular. I find it very admirable that you find security in the things that are certain to come and hope in the future, however cloudy it may be. Thanks for the optimistic perspective and thank you so so so much for writing! I look forward to reading your posts and will definitely comment in the future (and try to be more concise, like I said, I love to write and tend to get carried away!)! Good luck making your decision and just remember that even though you didn’t get your first choice, it’s possible to flourish in multiple places!

    Reply
  • 27. Current College Student  |  April 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Hey, listen, I’m sorry you got rejected, but would you mind a word of advice from someone who’s a fifth year at a supposedly “awesome” university? I know it’s long, but this is the advice I wish somebody had given me, please read it through…

    I’ve read your blog off an on, so I obviously know very little about you, but I would like to give you a few suggestions before you saddle yourself with a ridiculous amount of debt.

    First, think hard, really hard about what you want to do in life. If you do not absolutely NEED a college degree, don’t go. Get an Associate’s, go to a vocational school, be an entrepreneur, but PLEASE DO NOT GO TO COLLEGE JUST BECAUSE YOU “SHOULD”! Some people love it, some people hate it, some are forced to go by family pressures, don’t need it later in life, but are still stuck with tens of thousands of dollars of debt…

    Second, unless your parents are going to kick you out, take a year off between high school and college. Work, save up and use that time to work through all the prejudices and pressures we get drilled into our heads. If I had done that, I could have saved myself 2 1/2 years of clinical depression; and five years of anger, hurt, hatred and wasted time.

    Third, as contrary as it sounds, do not only focus on the academic program of your choice when selecting a college. That was my number one mistake. Make sure you are compatible with the “scene” on campus. I made the mistake of going to an urban, liberal-bigot, snobby, anti-Christian school because they were the top school for what I thought I wanted my career to be…. too bad the general consensus on campus is that people like me (white, Christian, rural, morally conservative) are just messed up and “incapable of logical thought” (seriously, I was told this).

    Fourth, I’m going to say something that’s frowned upon nowadays, but if you have any desire for a marriage and kids, by all means, make yourself useful until prince charming comes, but do NOT get in debt just to “advance your career”. If you want to stay at home, for either husband or kids, it’s not fair to foist your debt on your future husband/partner/whoever (Feel free to ignore that if you get a full ride or can just flat out afford college). My mom put all her energy into her career… I needed her at home – she didn’t see what all was going on at school, she didn’t see when I went crazy after losing my grandma, she didn’t SEE ANYTHING because she wasn’t there. And you know what? Her career has NOT MADE HER HAPPY. She’s approaching 60, on antidepressants and hates her job more and more every day… think about what’s REALLY important to you, and don’t worry about what everyone says or the feminist dogma that’s become the status quo. I know too many other “successful” career women who have a loveless marriage, bitter kids and a permanent frown on their faces.

    Sorry for such a negative post, but in the name of diversity of opinions, I really thought you should hear it. That being said, good luck with whatever you want to do, as long as it’s what YOU decide, not what the world at large decides for you. :)

    Reply
  • 28. Denise Rambo  |  April 7, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Oh Sweetie … I’m so sorry you didn’t get into your first choice school. I know by now you’re tired of hearing “their loss” and “everything happens for a reason” but the truth is that those things are true. Everything DOES happen for a reason. Everything happens JUST as it is SUPPOSED to. You might not be able to see the reason now and you may not see it for a long time to come but believe me, there IS a plan. Just trust in that. Going to a school that is not the one you had your heart set on may lead to opportunities you never would have had if you’d gone to your first choice. I predict that you have a VERY BIG life in store for you Elissa and I look forward to reading all about it . (((Elissa)))

    Reply
  • 29. marybeth  |  April 7, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Elissa
    I am very sorry – very very sorry
    >^..^<

    Reply
  • 30. Leanne  |  April 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Hi Elissa,
    Sorry for the pain and disappointment you are feeling. I believe that we are led down a certain path for a reason. That reason may not be clear now – but eventually it will! You are a bright, well spoken, accomplished young woman. I am absolutely certain that your dreams will come to fruition. Keep your chin up, your future is very bright :0)

    Reply
  • 31. Clara  |  April 8, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Hi Elissa,
    I love your blog and I was sorry to hear about the rejection. But as all the commenters have said, you have five great choices, and you will end up loving it at one of these schools, I am sure of it.

    Reply
  • 32. luckytastebuds  |  April 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I just found your blog and absolutely LOOOVE it’s entirety! You take breathtaking pictures of DELICIOUS looking food!! I love your baked creations and can’t wait to find the perfect recipe to try out this weekend! :)

    Reply
  • 33. luckytastebuds  |  April 8, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    P.s. I didn’t get into my #1 choice college, but I went to…probably my 3rd choice? AND I LOVED IT!!!!!!! College is a wonderful experience, the friendships, the lessons, the classes, even the ones you think are useless! :) If someone who went to school in freezing cold Chicago loved college at a nerdy school (haha I don’t mind it!) with a funky school color…i’m sure you’ll have a BLAST at whichever college you go to in the end. Remember…you did hand pick all the schools you applied to right? :)

    Reply
  • 34. hannah @ thepastrykook  |  April 8, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    sorry about college. :( but who knows, it could be a blessing in disguise!

    these bars look great by the way (:

    Reply
  • 35. baking&love  |  April 9, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I’m not good with my words, but I really want to tell you to cheer up, Elissa! :) Take care and all the best in whichever college you decide on eventually.

    Reply
  • 36. Ms. Humble  |  April 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    It’s not where you study but who you are.

    And you’re great! Biology & baking… I want to adopt you.

    You know, in a non-stalker friendly food blogger kind of way.

    Reply
  • 37. Grace  |  April 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Made the bars yesterday, substituting raspberry jam for the blackberry jam. Once again you have done all the work by passing on a ‘tried and true” recipe. I made an error and baked it in a quarter sheet pan versus half. It took an extra 18 minutes to bake, but boy are they great! This will be a “go to” recipe in the future, and I thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  • 38. Current Health Topics  |  April 10, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I am utterly impressed with the fact that you are 17 and making these great foods. It is also impressive that you have such a large following to your blog. The pictures you have provided look very professional. The almond bars look delicious and I will make those, plus substitue half of them with strawberry. Keep up the great work here and good luck with your baking.

    Reply
  • 39. cupcakeswin=]  |  April 10, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I just got back from what seemed like a horrible vacation and i guess this is a tad worse…

    I see all these HUGE comments from people that know you our can type fast or something and I think that I’ll leave a smaller one.

    ~~~
    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
    – Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

    “I’m all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.”
    – Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959)
    ~~~

    hopefully you will thank them for the letter and be polite and stuffs

    might make them see that you’re a umm….extraordinarily person?

    they probably don’t receive thank you letters from the great ones they’ve shunned… just saying its a good idea.

    -amazing crayzen liz-

    OH MY GARSH THIS IS A LONG COMMENT!

    Reply
  • 40. molly  |  April 10, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Silly school. They’ve no idea what they’re missing.

    (Oh, and you’re spot-on, I think, about life being full of adventure you can’t even yet imagine. Really.)

    Reply
  • 41. Sondha  |  April 11, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Aww honey, I guess you can tell we’re all sorry. *hug*

    Reply
  • 42. Brian  |  April 12, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I got rejected from the school I really wanted to go to in high school too but I just graduated last December and couldn’t be happier about where I ended up now. I even started graduate school here this semester since I had such a good experience. So don’t worry about college, you’ll be surprised how many good things you don’t recognize as such at first!

    Reply
  • 43. amelia  |  April 12, 2010 at 9:51 am

    ohhhh goodness! Tart, sweet, delectable.
    Amelia
    http://www.ztastylife.com

    Reply
  • 44. brownie  |  April 14, 2010 at 4:55 am

    i think i go to your ‘dream school’…and i’ll be totally honest. college is what you make it out to be. although i was overjoyed about getting in, after being here for a few years i’ve begun to realize its just like any other college, how well you do is completely up to you. and also, at times, it’s easy to get lost here due to the vast amount of freedom…
    that being said, i’m reaallyy sad that you aren’t coming here and i can’t learn from your great baking skills :( best of luck whenever you choose to go, i’m sure you’ll do great! :D

    Reply
  • 45. Karen  |  April 15, 2010 at 6:35 am

    ‘Lissa — I’m sooo sorry; I know how much you wanted it. (I just got back in the country, so I just discovered your news.) I have always believed there is a better school out there for you than that one. When you visit your options, I hope you fall in love (with a school, I mean) and forget all about that blip. Success, for you, in inevitable.

    Reply
  • 46. TGB  |  April 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Oh, Elissa. You’ve given us yet another opportunity to pause and gaze on something glorious. This time it was biscuits. But it was so much more. Your pictures-oh my. The gentle side-setting sunlight; the way you capture browns and grays and metals; the food and all nuturing ingrdients you “selah” on. I’ve been deeply blessed by your blog ever since I came upon it. I’m working in the desert far away from the familiar and your reflections in word and photo have ministered “home” to me in ways deeper than I appreciated before I came.
    I do feel for your university disappointment. I, too, was not accepted to my first choice school. (in ’88!) I can honestly say I’m very glad for how my life turned and continued since then. I, too, am shocked that any school would not be clamboring to have you (someone already making such a beautiful contribution to the world and who can’t be stopped by “haters”) but I also know that with the passion coursing through your veins, it doesn’t matter where you study- You are a life force! Thanks for going for what you love.

    Reply
  • […] set on the restaurant thing, or if you have a recipe already in mind for your main course, try out this recipe for Blackberry Jam Almond bars from 17 and baking (one of my favorite new baking […]

    Reply
  • 48. Bake: Almond Jam Bars « Seattle Lunchbox  |  May 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    […] Jam Bars (Adapted from 17 and Baking) Recipe barely adapted from Sophistimom Makes a half sheet of […]

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  • 49. bel  |  July 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    hi elissa, i know that you’ve moved on since this post and are due to go to a really great college, it sounds a little cliché, but they’re so fortunate to have you.
    ANYWAY, i have been having a series of “one of those days” and i thought that i could lift my spirits by baking these bad boys… i confidently reduced the quantity of each ingredient by 1/4 in order to bake it in a 9″x13″ pan. well, somehow, my batter, dotted neatly with jam, turned out more cake-like than i had hoped for. it was like sponge, and all the jam sunk beneath the surface. they were also probably twice as deep. i was so disappointed with my baking. in my rather irrational mind, it seemed to confirm to me everything i was doubting about myself! they didn’t taste bad, but they definitely weren’t right. and didn’t look beautiful like yours.

    what texture should these be? are they more of a cake or a biscuit? and have you any ideas as to what i could be doing incorrectly? i REALLY want to make these as they are intended to be! please help! x

    what texture should these be?

    Reply
    • 50. Elissa  |  July 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm

      bel – So sorry to hear you’ve been having some bad days. Trust me, I know the feeling, including the baking-to-feel-better and messing up part. As for the bars, they aren’t like a cake or a biscuit… More like a very very thick sugar cookie. Soft, a little chewy, crisp at the edges, somewhat dense. I’m trying to figure out what might have gone wrong. You would have needed to halve the recipe to bake it in the 9″x13″ pan, not reduce it by 1/4, which explains why your bars were thicker. That might also explain why the jam sank to the bottom… then maybe they didn’t bake long enough, which could cause the sponge-y texture? I wonder if it’s also possible if your butter was too soft, which can sometime cause a greasier/softer texture. In any case, I really hope you aren’t discouraged and everything is going a little better. (Not sure if you’ve read this one, but I blogged six months ago during a pretty bad time for me and the recipe didn’t work out. http://17andbaking.com/2009/12/03/striped-peppermint-meringues-with-chocolate-ganache/ Might make you feel better, I hope!)

  • 51. bel  |  July 10, 2010 at 4:49 am

    thanks for getting back to me. i’m going to halve the recipe, give it another go and see how it works…if failure is the result then striped peppermint meringues it is…though i imagine i’ll do those anyway – they look great. also, everybody loves meringues during the summer, despite the fact that it’s raining here in Ireland!
    thanks again and can’t wait for your next endeavor!

    (your orange-cinnamon-pecan pastries are all set for breakfast tomorrow – very excited!)

    Reply
  • 52. Friday Food Fun : SherraLifeLesson.com  |  September 3, 2010 at 5:38 am

    […] ~ My new favorite, easiest cobbler ever. Added Blue Bell ® Summer Berries ice cream. Yee haw! 2. Blackberry Jam Almond Bars ~ 3 of my favorite things: shortbread, almond flavoring and blackberry jam — so delicious! 3. […]

    Reply

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Elissa Bernstein



I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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