Raspberry Almond Streusel Bars

raspberry almond bars tastefood

Almond flour, almonds, and oats confer in a dense and spiced streusel, sandwiching an intense raspberry filling, while debatably nudging these bars into the kind-of-sort-of healthy department…oh, who am I kidding. Whether you call these raspberry bars indulgent or healthy(ish), they should be a must-have on your holiday cookie to-do list.

Raspberry Almond Streusel Bars

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes 16 (2-inch) square bars.

Crust and Topping:
1 cup almond flour (meal)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, coarsely chopped

Filling:
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides. Butter the parchment.

2. Combine the almond meal, flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine, 1 to 2 times. Add the butter and extracts. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 12 times. Transfer 3/4 cup of the mixture to a bowl, add the almonds and set aside for the topping. Press the remaining mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. Bake until light golden brown, about 12 minutes.

3. Place the preserves, raspberries, and liqueur, if using, in a bowl. Mix with a fork to combine, lightly mashing the whole raspberries but leaving some pieces intact. Spread the raspberries over the crust. Sprinkle the topping over the filling.

4. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cut in 2-inch squares. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

 

Raspberry Almond Streusel Bars

raspberry bars tastefood
Raspberry Almond Streusel Bars

 

Raspberry Almond Bars

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes 16 (2-inch) square bars.

Crust and Topping:
1 cup almond flour (meal)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, coarsely chopped

Filling:
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides. Butter the parchment.

2. Combine the almond meal, flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine, 1 to 2 times. Add the butter and extracts. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 12 times. Transfer 3/4 cup of the mixture to a bowl, add the almonds and set aside for the topping. Press the remaining mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. Bake until light golden brown, about 12 minutes.

3. Place the preserves, raspberries, and liqueur, if using, in a bowl. Mix with a fork to combine, lightly mashing the whole raspberries but leaving some pieces intact. Spread the raspberries over the crust. Sprinkle the topping over the filling

4. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cut in 2-inch squares. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

 

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

~ very lemony lemon bars ~

‘Tis the season for lemons. Actually, late winter is the season for lemons, but happily the season spills into spring, offering up bushels of citrus which beget light and lovely desserts, such as these Lemon Bars. Lemon Bars are a family favorite, a quintessential childhood treat that pleases adults and kids alike. The key to a good lemon bar, in my book, is that the filling must be intensely lemony packing a wallop of tart, with just enough sugar, but not so sweet that it’s cloying. The final touch is a pinch of sea salt, which keeps the sweetness in check and allows the lemon to shine through.

Lemon Bars

This recipe is adapted from and inspired by many sources, including Ina Garten and, most recently, Lucas’ Lemon Bars from Food52, as well as my personal weakness for sea salt. Makes 32 two-inch square bars.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened but still cool, cut in cubes

4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Sea salt flakes, such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan. Line with parchment and butter the parchment. Combine the pastry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until the dough resembles coarse lumps and just begins to come together. Dump the dough into the prepared pan and, with your fingers, evenly press the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until it just begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
Whisk the filling ingredients together in a large bowl until blended. Evenly pour over the crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is set but not coloring, about 25 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack. Cut into bars. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and lightly sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

Banana Chip Bars

Banana Chip Bars

Banana Chips, Coconut, Dark Chocolate

This time I blame the banana chips. Due to a last minute panic-induced purchase for a school event, I had a bucket of them sitting in my refrigerator. You might understand the situation which led to this:  Worried that (heaven forbid) not enough dessert would be provided for a tropical-based menu for a lunch at my daughter’s school,  I threw a few, er, many packages of banana chips into my shopping basket on the way to the lunch – just in case the mob inhaled all 47 other dishes represented in the school-wide buffet and were up in arms about not enough sugar to complete their smorgasbord. (As if banana chips would be sufficient to stave off an angry sugar-deprived crowd – what was I thinking?)  As it turned out, any testy unrest was avoided, since we (naturally) had too much food in the first place.  And so the banana chips came home with me and have been patiently waiting in my refrigerator to be put to use – until today.

It was a baking kind of day today, and I decided to throw together a simple bar cookie. Normally I include coconut and chocolate chips in my bars, and figured the banana chips would make a nice addition. I chopped a bunch up in my food processor (you may want ear plugs for this) and folded the chips into the batter. They added a wonderful chewy texture with a mild buttery flavor to the bars, without an overpowering banana flavor or excess sweetness. Toothsome and chewy, they almost made the bars feel…healthy? Ok, that may be pushing it.


Banana Chip Bars
Makes 24 – 2 inch bars

1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut, plus extra for the topping
1 cup coarsely chopped banana chips
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Whisk sugars and butter together in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Add to the sugar and butter and mix well. Stir in coconut, banana chips and chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with additional coconut. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Blueberry Crumble Bars

Blueberry Crumble Bars

Simple, sweet and oozing with fruit, Blueberry Crumble Bars are dessert’s answer to comfort food. I was in the mood for something just like this – an unfussy, child-friendly dessert that would please all ages. Prompted by a bag of blueberries in my freezer – a lingering souvenir from last summer – I thought of a blueberry cookie bar. After a quick scan of the web for inspiration, I spied a recipe at Smitten Kitchen, by way of allrecipes. This was exactly the kind of dessert I wanted to  make: A recipe passed from kitchen to kitchen, tweaked with each rendition and then handed off to the next home cook. So, now I pass this recipe on to you – with just a few more tweaks. There is nothing complicated about this recipe, except the challenge of not eating too many in one go.

Blueberry Crumble Bars
Makes 16 – 20 bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Line with parchment and butter parchment.
Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse to blend. Add butter and egg. Pulse until dough resembles coarse crumbs. Pulse in lemon zest.
Whisk 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add blueberries and stir to combine.
Evenly spread half of the dough in the prepared pan. Spread blueberries evenly over the dough. Top with remaining dough. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 45 minutes. Remove and cool to allow the flavors to develop and the bars to firm up.

Lemon Bars

Citrus is winter’s gift, so why not put this gift to use and make lemon bars? Bright and zingy, Lemon Bars will bring a ray of sunshine into your kitchen. Whether you are knee deep in snow or lucky enough to live where lemons grow on trees, this is one pick-me-up everyone will enjoy at this time of year. Cool creamy custard bursting with zest rests on a firm bed of shortbread. Each bite is a balance of sweet and tart. The recipe is simple and quick to make – the only caveat is that the results are dangerously addictive. Be forewarned: One will never be enough.

Lemon Bars
Makes 16 two inch bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

3/4 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Line with parchment and butter parchment.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until the dough resembles rough cornmeal. Dump the dough into the prepared baking pan. Press evenly over the bottom. Bake until light golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven without turning off oven.

Whisk sugar, flour and salt together in a small bowl. Whisk in eggs. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Pour over crust. Return to oven and bake until the filling is just set, 12-15 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack. To serve, dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar. Garnish with lemon zest.

Easy Weekend Baking: Coconut Blondies

Coco blondies tf

Coconut Blondies are the perfect antidote for a rainy weekend day. They are simple to make, kid-friendly and sinfully delicious. Filled with chocolate chips and flecked with coconut, these buttery rich squares will make you want to stay inside and bake. Make a batch on your own or with the kids, curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and enjoy the sound of the rain outdoors. Bliss.

Coconut Blondies

Makes 16 (2-inch) bars

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, divided
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and whisk together; set aside. Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl. Add the butter and vanilla and whisk to blend. Stir in the flour until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut and the chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the pan and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup coconut over the top. Bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack and cut into small squares.