Want to know my secret to baking sweet and delicious treats and not gaining weight? The answer is simple: I give my baked goods away. Being on a mother-of-the-groom diet, I sample only one tempting serving and then pack up the rest for my husband to take to work. Today’s batch of Raspberry-Cherry Crumble Bars will be tomorrow’s staff treats. Oh, but these delicious crumble bars will be a little bit more difficult to give away. Tart cherries mixed with sweet raspberry jam and sandwiched in between a buttery oatmeal crust and topping are sorely testing my willpower. These easy-to-make bars are proving not so easy to give away!
Raspberry-Cherry Crumble Bars
From the So Sweet! cookbook by Sur La Table
1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups old-fashioned or quick oats (not instant)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 (16-ounce) jar good-quality seedless raspberry jam
1 cup dried sour cherries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and position an oven rack in the center. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil across the bottom and up the two long sides, then lightly coat with melted butter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray.
2. To make the crumble dough, place flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low speed until evenly mixed (or place in a food processor and process for 5 seconds). Add the cold butter and mix on low speed until the mixture looks like wet sand and starts to form clumps, 5 to 6 minutes (or process for 45 to 60 seconds, pausing to scrape down once with a spatula).
3. Divide the dough in half. Pat one half into an even layer in the prepared pan. Set the other half aside. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and crisp. Transfer to a rack and cool for 20 minutes. Leave the oven on.
4. Make the filling by emptying the jam into a medium bowl and stir well to break up any lumps. Add the cherries and stir until well-mixed and all the cherries are coated with jam. Spread evenly over the cooled crust, all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the filling.
5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
6. To serve, run a thin knife or spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen any dough or filling. Lift the cookies out by using the foil as handles and place on a cutting surface. Cut into 3 by 1-inch bars. Just before serving, use a fine mesh strainer to lightly dust the confectioner’s sugar over the cookies.
Makes 36 bars.
1. It is important to line the baking pan with foil. It helps to lift out the finished product after it has cooled, which makes it easier to cut. Make sure to butter, oil, or spray the foil.
2. Tart cherries are the same as sour cherries.
3. The jam I bought came in an 18-ounce jar instead of a 16-ounce jar. I added the whole jar to the recipe without negative consequence.
4. I did not feel the need to dust the bars with confectioner’s sugar. The bars were perfect as is.