Monday, June 6, 2011

Raspberry Bars

When summer comes, all I can think about is fruity desserts. Everybody loves raspberry bars, and they're really easy to make at home.

To set these apart from everyday bars, I wanted to add some interest to the crust. So instead of using all flour, I used a mixture of flour, quick oats, and shredded coconut.

I sweetened it with a blend of brown sugar and white sugar.

To give them more texture and flavor, I measured out a cup of nuts. You could use any kind of nut you like. I used half pecans and half almonds.

Almonds and raspberries are BFFs.

I gave them a whir in my food processor until they were pretty chopped. If you like a rougher texture, you could stick 'em in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin or a can of veggies, or you could just chop them with a knife.

The nuts got dumped in with the flour and sugar mixture. To brighten the bars a bit, and to bring out the flavor of the raspberry jam, I also added a teaspoon of lemon zest.

Using a pastry blender, I cut in a cup of room-temperature butter. Apparently white-yellow butter and white nuts and flour don't photograph well during the brightest part of the day.

After the butter was cut in, I added an egg and gave the bowl a stir.

At this point, your dough should be crumbly, but when pressed together it should hold its shape.

Press about 2/3 of the mixture into a 9x9 cake pan and top with jam.

These will make pretty thick bars. If you use an 8x8, you may find that you have extra dough. If you like a thinner crust, a larger pan could be used, although I don't think I would go all the way up to a 9x13. And, of course, adjust your baking time accordingly.

Looks pretty good already, don't you think?

I used a whole cup of raspberry jam, because I like a thick and gooey jam layer. If you're not so into the jam part, feel free to cut the amount back to 3/4 of a cup.

Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the jam, and then pop the pan into the oven.

After about 45 minutes, you'll have some golden brown bars.

Let them cool fully, and then serve! Take them to your next picnic or potluck. Or just save them all for yourself. I promise I won't tell ;)

Recipe: Raspberry Bars

1 c. flour
1 c. quick oats
1/4 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. chopped almonds
1 tsp. lemon zest

1 c. butter, softened

1 egg

1 c. raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, coconut, and sugars. Mix lightly.

In a food processor, finely chop pecans and almonds. Add to flour mixture. Add lemon zest.

Use a pastry blender or fork to cut in the softened butter. Cut until butter is completely incorporated.

Add egg; stir until combined. Dough should be crumbly but hold its shape when compressed.

Press 2/3 of dough mixture into a greased 9x9 cake pan. Top with raspberry jam. Crumble remaining dough mixture over the top of the jam.

Bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

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