Thursday, September 5

Raspberry Streusel Bars

I'm a huge fan of raspberries. For me, this wonderful Summer berry is at it's best when eaten fresh, nothing added and uncooked. This past Summer I have eaten bowl after bowl after bowl and I never tire of them.
Even though I love eating them fresh, I am often disappointed by raspberry bars – there’s just not enough raspberry flavor for me. When jam is the only source of fruit in bar type cookies, they tend to be dry and the raspberry flavor is overcooked and washed out. This recipe from Cook's Illustrated solves this problem in the simplest way, by adding real raspberries. During the Summer, my fridge is always sporting at least a quart of fresh raspberries at all times. Now that Summer is drawing to a quick close, these bars are the perfect way to use up the last of my raspberries.
These bars are wonderfully addictive. The raspberry flavor is bright and fresh without being too tart. The shortbread base is buttery and tender, but stable enough to support the cookie.  And the streusel topping is crunchy and pretty. Everything a good bar needs to be extraordinary!
Makes 24 Bars

  • 2½ cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon Table Salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Old-fashioned Rolled Oats 
  • ½ cup Pecans, chopped fine
  • ¾ cup Rasberry Preserves 
  • ¾ cup Fresh Raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick foil, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Set aside.
  • In bowl of standing mixer, fitted with flat beater, mix flour, granulated sugar, and salt at low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine on low, add 1 cup of unsalted butter one piece at a time; then continue mixing on low until mixture resembles damp sand, 1 to 1½ minutes. 
  • Measure 1 ¼ cups flour mixture into medium bowl and set aside; distribute remaining flour mixture evenly in bottom of prepared baking pan. Using hands or flat-bottomed measuring cup, firmly press mixture into even layer to form bottom crust. Bake until edges begin to brown, 14 to 18 minutes.
  • While crust is baking, add brown sugar, oats, and nuts to reserved flour mixture; toss to combine. Work in remaining 2 tablespoons butter by rubbing mixture between fingers until butter is fully incorporated. Pinch mixture with fingers to create hazelnut-sized clumps; set streusel aside.
  • Combine preserves, raspberries, and lemon juice in small bowl; mash with fork until combined but some berry pieces remain.
  • Spread filling evenly over hot crust; sprinkle streusel topping evenly over filling (do not press streusel into filling). Return pan to oven and bake until topping is deep golden brown and filling is 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 into 2 inch squares and serve.
Cook's Illustrated Notes: 
  • This recipe can be made in a standing mixer or a food processor. 
  • Frozen raspberries can be substituted for fresh; be sure to defrost them before combining with the raspberry preserves. 
  • If your raspberries are very tart, add only 1 or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to the filling. 
  • The bars are best eaten the day they are baked but can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days - the crust and streusel will soften slightly with storage.


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