Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Best Raspberry Bars

One of my favorite things about summer is all of the fresh fruits and vegetables.  So why not take some of these fantastic berries and make turn them into dessert?  I found this recipe in a special edition Cooks Illustrated magazine.  They were toted as being "The Best Raspberry Bars", and you know what?  They really are!  The crust is buttery, the filling flavorful, and the topping streusely (yes, I think that's a word).

Raspberry Streusel Bars
found in Cooks Illustrated

2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks plus 2 T butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine
3/4 cup raspberry preserves (I sometimes substitute homemade strawberry or rhubarb jam, whichever I have on hand)
3/4 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil.  Spray foil with nonstick spray.

In a mixer, mix flour, granulated sugar, and salt until combined.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of butter until the mixture looks like damp sand (1 or 2 minutes).
Measure 1 1/4 cups of this mixture and set aside.  Put the remainder of the mixture in the bottom of the pan and press down evenly.  Bake 15 minutes or until it starts to brown.
While the crust is baking, add brown sugar, oats and nuts to the reserved flour mixture.  Work in the remaining butter.
Combine the preserves, raspberries, and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Mash with fork until combined but some berry pieces remain.
Spread filling over the hot crust and sprinkle streusel topping over evenly.  Return pan to oven and bake 22-25 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.

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