Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Raspberry Almond Crumble Bars for a New Year

Greetings of a shiny, new year to you. Yeah, I know it's the middle of January and I should have been on my computer a couple of weeks ago wishing one and all the best of the season. Alas, I was likely cocooning on the couch with a book and a cup of tea, something I'm trying to do more of in this new year. December was a blur of baked goods and work and more work and then I cooked a feast on Christmas Eve and then the big day I stayed in my pyjamas and ate leftovers. It was the best. Binge watched Killing Eve and snacked on all the snacky things. All was calm, all was bright all right.

January always seems like a sucker punch in the face. The holiday buzz has burned off. Bills need to be paid. Jeans are too tight. And Game of Thrones doesn't start until middle of April. January is tough business. I feel like I'm still trying to rest up after my incredibly busy December, and I'm okay with that. I'm spending less time on my phone and more time in bed with a book. Or else snuggled up with my love bug watching a movie. The days are dark and long and I think we're allowed to be lazy. All of this restart, rebooting business is a tad annoying, and last time I checked I was a human not an iPhone. I suppose I can think about starting fresh in February or heck, even April. That's the great thing about life. We can start fresh whenever the hell we want. January 1 doesn't have to be the beginning of a new you. I really like the current me, so lets just run with that, okay?

After eating all the chocolate things last month, I really wanted to bake something that wasn't chocolatey. I know. Crazy, right? I also wanted something that would suffice for a second breakfast, and something I could grab and go on busy mornings. Thus, the invention of these raspberry bars. They're fruity, a little nutty, and wholesome as all get out thanks to the oats and flax. Frozen fruit goes on sale a lot over winter, so frozen raspberries are more economical than buying the fresh ones shipped from Mexico. If you've got some stashed away from the summer in your freezer - even better. Remember summer? Remember picking raspberries in the sunshine, feeling the warmth of the sun on your neck and arms? Those were the days. Hopefully these bars remind you of that. And that these tough, cold days won't last forever. Happy new year. Renée xoxo

Raspberry Almond Crumble Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups large flake oats
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sliced almonds
600 g frozen raspberries,
1/2 cup brown sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon 
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp melted unsalted butter, cooled to room temp
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper. Be sure that the paper is hanging over the sides for easy removal.
To make the crumb, combine flour to salt in a large bowl. Use your hands to work in the butter until the mixture clumps together. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture to another bowl and stir in the almonds to this. For the remainder of the crumb, pat it into the bottom of the baking pan and bake for about 12-15 minutes until it is starting to brown around the edges and is dry to the touch. Let the base cool while you prepare the filling.
Stir together the filling ingredients and let stand while the base is cooling. Spread the filling over the base and then sprinkle the almond crumb mixture on top. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling. Let the pan cool completely then refrigerate until firm. Slice into bars. Makes about 12-18 bars, depending on how large you want to cut them. Keep the bars refrigerated for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

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