9.16.2013

Recipe Box: Raspberry Oat Bars

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Now that the summer is waning, who of you has squirreled away a season's berry harvest in your freezer? Not me, sadly. I can only plan as far ahead as my next snack. However, I recently raided some friend's wild raspberry freezer cache to make these raspberry oat bars. This recipe is my alternate for the ubiquitous summer fruit pie, and they really shine in instances where you're baking for a crowd and/or plates and utensils are too fussy. Think cookouts, picnics, impromptu evening walks whilst holding snacks. You could probably even get away with sticking one of these treats in your pocket for save keeping. Have you ever tried to stash a piece of pie in your pocket? I didn't think so.

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Raspberry Oat Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Note: You could substitute the raspberries for any other berry you have on hand. Sometimes I also like to sub cardamom for the cinnamon in this recipe. 

For crust/crumb:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 in. pieces

For raspberry filling:
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 lb raspberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13" baking dish. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of pan, letting the parchment extend up the short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. Butter parchment.

Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in  large bowl. Whisk together, then cut in cubes of butter with a pastry blender. The mixture should resemble loose pea-sized crumbs. (You could also make the crumb in a food processor, like Deb suggests.) Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest into the pan and use your hands to press it into a single, even layer at the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make filling, whisk together sugar, zest, cinnamon, and flour. Add berries, lemon juice and butter. Toss together until the raspberries are evenly coated.

Spread filling over the cooled crust. Sprinkle reserved crust mixture on top of filling. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and filling starts to bubble around the edges. Cool and cut into squares to serve. Store in an air-tight container for up to two days.

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Alaskan wild raspberries, collected while hiking in Fairbanks. 

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