Sunday morning arrived and without speaking a word, Jeff and I silently began a Sunday morning "Bake-Off". He started with a delicious recipe of buttermilk pancakes which he added blueberries. I took the remaining blueberries and used them to make blueberry scones with a lemon icing. (Follow the Chocolate Chip Cherry Scone recipe and leave out the chips, cherries and walnuts and add 1 cup of blueberries and the rind from 1/2 lemon.) As we finished cleaning up, Jeff grabbed the last of the over ripe bananas and started making a streusel topped banana nut bread. In the All-Time Best Recipes Book from Cook's Illustrated was a great recipe for "The Best Raspberry Squares". With a pint of raspberries in the refrigerator, why not finish the morning with some...dessert!
I grabbed the mixer and started looking for my ingredents. Having a free standing mixer has made cooking and baking much easier for me, especially since I was an old-fashion mix-it-by-hand girl. The mixing of the butter into the flour mixture was so easy as I just added ingredients and watched the raspberry bars come together. I loved that these bars had both the jam and fresh raspberries. It gave the bars a tartness that went well with the shortbread and oatmeal sweetness.
Everyone loved the bars...I think for two reasons
1. It wasn't chocolate. For those of you who know me and have followed the blog, I love recipes with the main ingredient being chocolate.
2. They were a perfect sized snack. Not too tart, not too sweet. (Great with ice cream!)
My only problem with the bars was that I would have wanted more jam filling. The next time I make these, I will do 1-1/2 times the preserves, raspberries and lemon mixture.
Again, another easy recipe to take to a cook-out or party. A great "snack size" dessert that isn't your typical chocolate chip cookie or mini brownie.
2 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened to a cool room temperature
1/4 cup of packed light or dark brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup of pecans, chopped finely
3/4 cup of raspberry preserves
3/4 cup of fresh raspberries (frozen can be used; just make sure they are thawed completely)
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut an 18-inch length foil and and fit into length of 13 x 9-inch baking dish, pushing into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length of foil and fit into width of baking pan in same manner.
Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray. I used a non-stick pan and didn't have to put in the foil or cooking spray.
2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix flour, granulated sugar, and salt at low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine on low, add 16 tablespoons of butter, 1 piece at a time; then continue mixing on low until mixture resembles damp sand, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer.
3. Measure 1 1/4 cups of the flour mixture into medium bowl and set aside; distribute the remaining flour mixture evenly in bottom of prepared baking pan. Using your hands or the flat-bottomed measuring cup, press the mixture into even layer to form bottom crust. Bake until edges begin to brown, 14 to 18 minutes.
4. While the crust is baking, add brown sugar, oats and nuts to the reserved flour mixture; toss to combine. Work in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter by rubbing the mixture between your fingers until butter is fully incorporated. Pinch mixture with fingers to create hazelnut-sized clumps; set streusel aside.
5. Combine preserves, raspberries, and lemon juice in small bowl; mash with a fork until combined but some berry pieces remain.
6. Spread filling evenly over hot crust; sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over filling. Return pan to the oven and bake until topping is a deep golden brown and fill in bubbling, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature on wire rack, 1 to 2 hours; remove from baking pan by lifting foil extensions. Cut them into squares and watch them disappear!