Monday, September 26, 2011

Blackberry Crumb Breakfast Bars

Our summer in the Pacific Northwest was less than stellar. Everything in the garden is so behind and even the blackberries seem to be quite late this year. For the last few weeks I kept checking the blackberry patch but all I found was hard, green little berries. This past week they are finally ripe. So I put Baby Girl in her carrier and picked as many ripe berries as I could find. We have used up all our homemade jam so that was the first use the berries were going towards. I did end up with a couple of extra pints of berries and I had recently repined these amazing looking raspberry breakfast bars on Pinterest that were featured on the Smitten Kitchen.  It was the perfect time to make one of the recipes I had pined because then I could link up with the Pinterest Challenge that a new mommy friend of mine, the wonderful Subfertile Frugalista is hosting.

These bars are fantastic. Best breakfast bar I have tasted but that is probably because they really belong more in the bar cookie category than a breakfast bar. Don't let the term breakfast trick you into thinking these are healthy. They are less sweet than a typical dessert of this type which I really like. I used whole wheat pastry flour to bump up the nutritional value a bit. I think this recipe is perfect as it is for a treat but I think I could easily give it a healthy overhaul to make it truly a breakfast bar. Add even less sugar, reduce the amount of flour by adding flax and ground nuts and we would be getting close. I feel an experiment coming on.   


For the crust and crumb:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (original recipe calls for all-purpose)
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the raspberry filling:
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound Blackberries, fresh or frozen (original recipe calls for raspberries)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.

Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form.

Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. (Note: The book suggests you reserve one cup only.) Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.

Make the berry filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the berries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the raspberries are evenly coated.

Assemble and bake the bars: Spread the berry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

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