Do you ever go through those waves of feeling completely uninteresting and have no desire to blog? I just went through one of those waves, so I apologize for the lack of posts. The good news, though, is that I didn’t stop cooking or baking :). I just didn’t feel like I had anything interesting to say.
I’ve gotten over myself, had my cup (or four) of coffee, and am now prepared to edit photos and tell you allllllll about things I’ve been enjoying.
Raspberry bars. From Deb over at Smitten Kitchen. If you like slightly tart desserts these are for you. There isn’t a whole lot of sugar in these bad boys, just a 1 1/4 cup of brown sugar. So the tart tang of the raspberries shine through. It’s a delicious raspberry filling sandwiched between two oatmeal crumble crusts. Delicious.
This was my first foray into crumbles. Can you believe it? They’re probably one of the easiest things to make and I’ve never bothered. It was rather amusing to watch me figure everything out from an outside perspective. I threw everything into the food processor and then realized I didn’t have any lemons. So I used orange, which was just as yummy I’m sure. I made the crumble and was more or less surprised when it was…crumbly. So I removed the 1 1/2 cups of the mixture that needed to be saved to go on top and then smooshed the rest of the mixture into the pan. And who woulda known, but it actually stayed together after I smooshed it all together!
After my surprised and happy dance in the kitchen (which is just comical, let me tell you), I moved on to making the filling. Keep in mind, I was so impressed with myself for not adding any extra liquid, which is what I normally do when dough looks crumbly when using a food processor, I totally forgot to pop the crust in the oven. Whoops.
So I add all the raspberries to a large bowl and start mixing in the other ingredients. And then I realized I needed 1/4 of a cup of fresh lemon juice. Weeeeeeell, I didn’t have any lemons to zest, so I also didn’t have any to juice. Luckily I have a bottle of lemon juice, so I used a 1/4 of a cup of that. That also seemed to work out just fine. Yay for improvising!
By the by, does anyone know why berries insist on molding within 5.5 nanoseconds of buying them? I feel like I go to some pick-your-own place and by the time I get them home about 10 of them will have started molding. Stupid berries.
Anyway, back to the mixing – it’s a very very pretty pink. I wanted clothing in that color. So I read the instructions and realize I need to bake the bottom crust before pouring on the filling. Cruses. So I put it in the already preheated oven and then pull it out 12 minutes later and start the epic waiting game of letting it cool. Deb did say to make the filling while the crust was cooling. But I don’t read. Oh well.
So while the crust was cooling I decided to roast some hazelnuts to make some homemade nutella. But that’s another post. Muhahahaha.
Once the crust was cooled I poured the filling on the bottom crust and my anal retentive, OCD, perfectionist side took over when I added the top crust. IT HAD TO BE PERFECTLY EVEN. I’m not joking. Most people would just sprinkle on the top crust. Nope, not me. It seriously took me five minutes. If a clump was too big, I’d attempt to pick it back up and crumble it some more so it would cover more surface area. Don’t be anally retentive in this part. You’ll thank yourself when you realize you saved yourself five minutes.
So after that fiasco and baking them, I had my dad be extra hands while I pulled the yummy bars out of the pan. Since they’re baked in parchment paper, you use the paper as a sling so they can cool faster out of the pan. You need to let them cool before you eat them. Or just deal with them breaking part easily. I did that. They were delicious. DELICIOUS. I ate about 6 of them before I gave them away. My jeans currently hate me and I’m definitely using my gym membership. Ha. Lame.
From Smitten Kitchen
For the crust and crumb:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the raspberry filling:
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 glass or light-colored metal pan with a piece of parchment paper that’s long enough to use as a sling to remove the baked bars. Butter the parchment paper.
Add flour, brown sugar, oats, baking soda and baking powder and cinnnnnnnnnamon in a food processor. Pulse to combine and then add in the butter and continue pulsing until it becomes crumbly.
Remove for 1 1/2 cup of crumb for the top crust.Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Smoosh the rest of the crumb into the prepared pan, and use your hands to push the crumble into an even crust. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until it is golden brown. Keep the crust in the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. Make the filling while the crust is cooling.
Mix together sugar, lemon/orange zest, cinnnnnnnnnamon and flour together in a medium mixing bowl. Mix in the raspberries, lemon juice and butter. Since I used less than a pound, I smooshed the rasberries so there would be more of the mixture. You can also just lightly toss the berries by hand so they’re coated and not smoosh the berries. But I like smooshing.
Pour the raspberry filling evenly over the crust. Sprinkle, without being overly neurotic, the reserved crumble over the top of the filling.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, you’ll probably want an extra set of hands to pull the parchment out of the pan. After they’re cooled, cut them into squares and consume. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.
Or if you can’t wait for them to completely cool, deal with them falling apart when you pick them up. Delicious.