I like to think that eating a raspberry streusel bar for breakfast this morning was completely healthy. Two full sticks of butter are contributing some calcium. The top layer is full of oats, a heart healthy grain, and pecans, which are an excellent source of good fats. Also, there’s a layer of fruit! And not just any fruit– raspberries. Can we say fiber?

These are seriously amazing. It’s really hard to go wrong with layered desserts. The bottom adds a delicious buttery base, supportive but still chewy. The middle is probably where this recipe shines. Fresh raspberries, raspberry preserves, and a bit of fresh lemon juice make a flavorful layer that tastes like the fruit without being overly sweet. And lastly, the streusel topping. All the goodness of the bottom with the addition of chopped nuts, brown sugar, and rolled oats. Alright, I need to stop describing them or they’ll end up being my lunch too.

Raspberry Streusel Bars

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2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

18 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine

3/4 cup raspberry preserves (Smucker’s)

3/4 cup fresh raspberries

juice from 1/2 lemon

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13x9in baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing extra foil to hang over the edges of the pan. Spray with nonstick spray.

I prefer to use a food processor to make the crust, but you can also use an electric mixer as well. Place flour, granulated sugar, and salt in bowl and mix until combined, about five pulses. Scatter 16 tablespoons of butter over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles damp sand, about twenty pulses. (Note you are only adding 16 of the 18 tablespoons that are required for the recipe. I’ve made the mistake of adding all of it. Oops.)

Measure 1 1/4 cups of the flour mixture and set aside in a medium bowl. Pour the rest of the flour mixture into your foiled pan. Using your hands, press down firmly to form an even layer. Bake until edges are brown, 14 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, add brown sugar, oats, and nuts to the reserved flour mixture. Work in the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter by rubbing the mixture between your fingers until the butter is fully incorporated. Pinch the mixture with your fingers to create hazelnut-sized clumps. Set the streusel aside.

Combine the preserves, raspberries, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until combined but some berry pieces remain. Spread this filling evenly over the hot crust.

Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the filling (do not press). Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 22 to 25 minutes.

Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, 1 to 2 hours. Remove from baking pan by lifting the overhanging foil. Use a chef’s knife to cut into squares and serve.

Makes twenty-four 2-inch squares

Note: These can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days

Source: The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2007

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