Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars

February 7, 2012 at 2:32 am 92 comments

I took a bite

I caved the other day and bought a box of raspberries.

When I saw the carton at Trader Joe’s, I remembered Bainbridge Island. Our family friends live there, a tiny island off the coast of Washington state, and my mom and I were lucky enough to visit last summer. I fell in love with the ocean, still icy cold in July, and with the sky, an endless band of blue pressed against the beach. One morning I woke at sunrise to go crab fishing. Another afternoon I walked “downtown,” which referred to two buildings – a general store and the post office.

But my happiest memories are the times I spent grazing in their garden. Fresh artichokes, several potato varieties, the sweetest snap peas I’ve ever tasted. And raspberries. I ate handfuls of raspberries until I just couldn’t. I craved the way each section burst with juice, still warm from the sunshine. Some berries were so tender they broke in my hand, staining my fingertips pink.

Standing there in the grocery store, I thought about all that, and about all the other good things that came with the garden. Sundresses and lolling dog tongues and a boat that smelled like crab bait. And I knew I couldn’t leave without those raspberries.

Crumble bars

I hadn’t had a raspberry since July! I was so excited I didn’t even wait to get back to my dorm, just opened the carton right on the train. These berries definitely looked the part. Big as thimbles, red as lipstick, the tops curved into perfect “O”s. I popped one into my mouth and waited for magic.

I felt the seeds crack between my teeth. The berry barely yielded any juice. Bitter disappointment.

It’s not that I can never eat another raspberry unless it’s just-picked and still breathing. I’m not on Bainbridge Island. I don’t expect that level of fantasy perfection in everyday life. But I think I’ve learned my lesson about buying imported raspberries in the dead of winter.

Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars

Instead, I decided to make some new memories using a jar of raspberry jam. I still have my baking box – a steamer trunk my dad and I refurbished the summer before college – snuggled beneath my dorm bed. Inside, I’ve stashed cake pans, half sheets, piping tips, cookie cutters, ceramic ramekins for baking custards… and one very weathered, very humbled 9×9” pan. I washed the pan twice, piled it high with ingredients, and carried it down the hall to the kitchen.

Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars don’t disappoint. They look good on a picnic table in July, and in a college common room in February. The bars bake up into three layers of shortbread goodness, sweet raspberry, and buttery crumble. They taste like brown sugar and old-fashioned oats, with a healthy smear of jam oozing out the middle.

But what I especially like about these bars is that you can tweak them to make your own memories. Add toasted coconut or fresh fruit. Throw in a handful of pecans, some chocolate chips, or a couple healthy shakes of cinnamon. Use apple butter, blackberry jam, or your neighbor’s homemade peach preserves.

One little square

Here’s what I’ll remember next time I make these bars: the weight of the jar in my hand as I stood in the grocery store and considered the possibilities. Bubbling jam as I scooted the pan out of the oven. The crackle of parchment paper, buttery crumbs all over the table, and the look on my RA’s face when she walked in and blurted, “That smells so good!”

I like to think I’ll remember being a college student who still liked to eat well all year long.

Stacked bars

My only note for this recipe – I decreased the sugar from the original recipe and thought they were great, but they’re definitely on the sweet side. I’d recommend using a quality jam that isn’t too sugary.

Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars
Tweaked from Gourmet
Makes an 9×9″ pan

1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 oz (10 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, then add the butter and pulse until a dough starts to form. Blend in the milk. (If you don’t have a food processor you could do this with an electric mixer, a pastry cutter, or even a fork and man power.) Transfer the dough-bits to a bowl and knead in the oats until well combined.

Put 3/4 cup dough off to the side (this will be used as the crumble.) Press the rest of the dough evenly into a buttered 9×9″ metal baking pan (I lined the pan with parchment paper and skipped the buttering). Spread the jam evenly over the top (if the jam seems tough to spread, heating it a little could help.) Crumble the reserved dough evenly over the top.

Bake in the center of the oven until golden, 20-25 minutes, and cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use a knife to loosen the sides, lift it out, and cut into bars on a cutting board.

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Soft Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies (vegan) Condensed Milk Pound Cake

92 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Raspberry Granola Bars | The Night Bakery  |  March 28, 2012 at 11:05 am

    [...] was required in the recipes I came across for granola bars. So I decided to base my recipe off of this dessert recipe and tweak it to health it up a bit (ps this girl is a genius and you should totally [...]

    Reply
  • 2. keepcalmbakecakes  |  April 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Hi! I have just started a blog on baking ‘http://keepcalmbakecakes.wordpress.com/’ :) I thought it would would be a good idea to follow some other bloggers and stumbled across yours… These look rather delicious and I may possibly have to make some when I go back to school. Thanks and happy cooking!

    Reply
  • 3. Robert Richards Recipes  |  April 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

    You are a talented person to come up with a recipe like this one. I’m so happy you decided to share it with the world. :-D

    Reply
  • 4. Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars « hookedontaste  |  April 8, 2012 at 8:44 am

    [...] 17andbaking via [...]

    Reply
  • 5. Jessica Sells Homes  |  April 17, 2012 at 12:07 am

    This looks so good! I will have to try them. Being from and living in Washington, I appreciate your vivid depiction of your time on Bainbridge Island. I love this area, nothing quite like it :-)

    Reply
  • 6. jannath  |  April 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Hi! I just nominated you for The Liebster Award. Congrats! For details, visit my page :)

    Reply
  • 7. randominternetfun  |  April 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Mmmm. Looks like a fruit and oat bar I get from Macrina Bakery in Seattle. I crave these things. Now I can make them. Thank you!

    Reply
  • 8. Ayu Mustika  |  April 20, 2012 at 5:25 am

    nice tips..thanks to share in this blog

    Reply
  • 9. likeaphatkidlovescake  |  April 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Great recipe, although my batter was quite crumbly… more like a shortbread? The top didn’t form as nicely as yours but it did taste amazing! Good call on the decrease in sugar in the bar bit. I also substituted apricot jam (what I had on hand) and a can of peaches since I was short on the jam. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

    Reply
  • 10. Pearls and Lace  |  May 2, 2012 at 12:40 am

    These look delicious! Raspberries are my favorite fruit! I can’t wait to make these bars this summer! Thanks for the inspiration :)

    xo, jen

    Reply
  • 11. Hilda  |  May 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Hey there,

    I love to read your blog, it always makes me so hungry and craving for sweets. Keep up the good work

    ~Hilda

    Reply
  • 12. Neda Massih (@Houseaholic21)  |  May 6, 2012 at 5:46 am

    was i supposed to use self rising flour? because mine is cookie thin (and i made it for someone potluck :/ but it still tastes okay) and i used all purpose flour….i’m new cooking….so i was just wondering…..and thinking of what i could do differently next time cause i liked how you didnt have a ton of sugar in the recipe….

    Reply
  • 13. Connie Chung  |  May 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Elissa! Still checking your blog every other day in anticipation for a new post! Excited to see what you’ve been up to. Culinary, travel, or otherwise. :)

    Reply
  • 14. notterschool  |  May 11, 2012 at 4:06 am

    It was really nice to read! Recipe laden with sweet make to yearn to have it. Keep up the good work

    Reply
  • 15. Juanita  |  May 21, 2012 at 1:06 am

    So, did you give up on blogging?

    Reply
  • 16. Sophia  |  June 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    These look yummy! I just gave you a One Lovely Blog award, come check it out :)
    http://sophiasbaking.blogspot.com/2012/06/one-lovely-blog-and-bfmhtys-lemon.html

    Reply
  • 17. the aspiring baker  |  June 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I love reading your blog and you always inspire me with your great recipes! Anyway, I nominated you for the Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling, which you can find out more about here: http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/

    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  • 18. fabz  |  June 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    why arent you writing anymore? hope u r okay and things are fine?

    Reply
  • 19. Leanne  |  June 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Really miss your blog! :( Hope that all is well and your adventure continues

    Reply
  • 20. Heather  |  June 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I just stopped by to see if I missed any new blog entries…I guess you are just busy with the end of the school year! Hope you have some time this summer to write more :)

    Reply
  • [...] Love, love, love granola bars. Love,love, love a delicious crumble. = WIN!! I found a recipe for  Oat Crumble Bars from “17 and Baking” (she’s amazing, it’s disgusting how accomplished she [...]

    Reply
  • 22. Ally  |  July 4, 2012 at 5:52 am

    The first time I heard of bainbridge island was from reading Sarah Jio “The Violets of March”. The way you describe the island reminds me of the book. Since reading the book I’ve wanted to get away from the city and visit bainbridge. Seems like a perfect place to relax.

    Reply
  • 23. Lauren  |  July 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Miss your blogs! Hope you are doing well!

    Reply
  • 24. crystal-x  |  July 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    hmmmm very nice recipe :)

    Reply
  • 25. Iyonna  |  July 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I misssss you Ms.Missy. Hope all is well and your family is wonderful. Stop by with an update.

    Reply
  • 26. scholli2000  |  July 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

    That’s a very nice looking recipe. It reminds me of the Streuselkuchen my Grandma used to bake for us kids some thrity years ago. I hit your blog when I was looking for “twin blogger” using the same theme than I do. Suprise, surprise! The first blog wordpress recommended was yours and it was a food blog, as mine! Greetings from Germany! :-)

    Reply
  • 27. The Blazing Trail  |  July 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Hi! I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award Best Wishes!

    Reply
  • 28. danbalva  |  July 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    These look incredible! Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Congratulations on this much deserved award!! http://hurdlestohappiness.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/one-lovely-blog-award/

    Reply
  • 29. Hilda  |  July 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    The bar look so delicious and your recipes are simple. I look forward to trying out your recipe when i get home.

    xoxo

    Reply
  • 30. Tiffany | offbeat & inspired  |  September 12, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Tried these and everyone loved them!! I subbed blueberry jam for raspberry and it was like a buttery crumbly SUPER fancy poptart! Wonderful job with your photography. Keep up the good work!! :)

    Reply
  • 31. Genie  |  September 29, 2012 at 4:20 am

    these are soo good. i didn’t have unsalted butter so i substituted with 121 grams of salted butter yet is still tasted amazing!! i love this recipe

    Reply
  • 32. urbanfeast1  |  January 2, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Yum, these bars look amazing, perfect for summertime down under! They definitely seem like they would make the house smell amazing too.
    Allie from Urban Feast

    Reply
  • […] Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars by 17 and Baking […]

    Reply
  • 34. Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars | Bake Me Happy  |  September 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

    […] I’ve adapted this recipe from Elissa’s blog, 17 and Baking. […]

    Reply
  • 35. Aracely  |  May 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    So I made this one day on a whim. It looked so yummy on your post. OMG! It became a knock out with my friends and family (and even doctor). My mom is always asking me to bake this and even my friend beg me for the recipe (so I gave her this link). Thank you for sharing something so great with us! Also, I love your blog all the recipes I try that you post have turned out amazing!

    Reply

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Elissa Bernstein



I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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