Raspberry Streusel Bars

Crumb bars. Pie bars. Crumble bars. Streusel bars.

God I love summer. All of the fruit. And pies. And tarts. And buttery, flaky, streusel-y bars like these. It’s my personal warm-weather heaven. And I embrace every single fruity second of it until the air starts to cool and the leaves begin to change. When I took the raspberries out of their container in anticipation of making these I marveled at how my baking habits drastically change with the seasons.

During the winter it is pretty much all chocolate, all butter, all of the time. Now to be fair, these bars certainly have their fair share of butter in them. But once the weather starts to turn, a transformation takes place in my kitchen. It becomes brighter, more colorful, and the baked goods tend to be lighter, and there is definitely more fruit involved.

Fruit like these raspberries. Aren’t they some of the most beautiful, perfect raspberries you’ve ever seen?

The other thing about warm weather is that I like to be out enjoying it, and not in the kitchen all the live long day. So once summer rolls around I definitely trend towards recipes that are quick and easy to throw together and don’t require to linger in a kitchen with the oven running for hours on end. These bars absolutely fit that requirement.

In about an hour you can have these in and out of the oven and let them cool while you run barefoot through the grass. Then come back inside, cut them up, and enjoy. You did just burn off a ton of calories running through the grass, right?!

(Oh, and don’t forget to keep an ear out for the ice cream man while you’re running around out there. These would be perfect with a little vanilla on top ;-))

One year ago: Baby Shower Cookies
Two years ago: Easy Fudge
Four years ago: Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

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Raspberry Streusel Bars

Ingredients:

2½ cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, cut into ½-inch pieces and at cool room temperature

¼ cup light brown sugar

½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup (2 ounces) pecans, chopped fine

¾ cup (8½ ounces) raspberry preserves

¾ cup (3½ ounces) fresh raspberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil so it hands over the edges. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.


2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, granulated sugar and salt at low speed to combine, about 5 seconds. With the machine on low, add 1 cup of the butter, 1 piece at a time, then continue mixing on low until the mixture resembles damp sand, 1 to 1½ minutes. (If using a food processor, process the flour, granulated sugar, and salt until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter the 1 cup of butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles damp sand, about twenty 1-second pulses.)


3. Measure 1¼ cups flour mixture into a medium bowl and set aside; distribute the remaining flour mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Using your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup, firmly press the mixture into an even layer to form the bottom crust. Bake until the 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 of butter by rubbing the mixture between your fingers until the butter is fully incorporated. Pinch the mixture with fingers to create hazelnut-sized clumps; set streusel aside.


5. Combine preserves, raspberries, and lemon juice in a small bowl; mash with a fork until combined but some berry pieces remain.


6. Spread the filling evenly over the hot crust; sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the filling (do not press streusel into filling). Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is a deep goldne brown and the filling is bubbling, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, 1 to 2 hours; remove from the baking an by lifting the foil extensions. Cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.


*Note #1: Frozen raspberries can be substituted for fresh; be sure to defrost them before combining with the raspberry preserves.


*Note #2: If your fresh raspberries are very tart, add only 1 or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to the filling.


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(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated 'All-Time Best Recipes')


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