I’m pretty sure it’s frowned upon to describe recipes as “easy” and “delicious.” Critics might say that the terms are overused, vague, and lazy. I guess I sometimes agree with that, but I also think that the terms are perfect for when something takes little effort (verging on foolproof) and the results are “so good,” “tasty,” or any other loose phrase that essentially means “GIVE ME MORE.” These oatmeal-raspberry bars are the epitome of easy and delicious. Prep time clocks in around 15 minutes, the ingredient list is short, and the bars are tart, buttery, crunchy, juicy, rich, and fresh. Plus, as of this week in central Illinois, they’re seasonal, too.
The bars are a breeze to prepare because you make the dough in a food processor. After a few pulses, the flour, sugar, salt, and butter turn into cookie dough. You knead in the oats by hand and reserve a half cup of the dough for the crumble. Once you press the dough into an 8 x 8 pan, you cover it with a layer of jam, sprinkle it with berries, and top with nuggets of the reserved dough. The treat bakes for just shy of a half an hour and then tortures the baker as cools.
The finished product is addictive, irresistible, and sure to be a picnic hit. The original recipe says it yields 16 bars, which is very prudent, but totally wrong in our house. One time after I made these, Ed was admiring them in the baking pan and said, “did you eat a whole row of these today?”
“Yes, but it was over the course of the day.” I was not ashamed.
Later that evening, when I asked Ed if he was ready for dessert, he said, “yes, please! Bring me a row!” And I did. It’s much easier than getting up and down again for three more delicious little squares.
oatmeal-raspberry crumble bars
adapted slightly from Real Simple
There are many ways to tinker with this recipe: swap some whole wheat flour for the all-purpose, change the berries, cut down on the sugar, or add almonds or coconut or some other raspberry complementing ingredient.
If you won’t be finishing these in 24 hours, store them in the refrigerator to keep them firm and fresh.
Makes 16 bars.
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more to butter the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 cup fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter or grease an 8-inch by 8-inch pan.
Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter pieces and process in 5-second pulses until the dough just comes together. Empty dough into a mixing bowl and gently knead in the oats by hand. Reserve 1/2 cup of the oat dough.
Press remaining dough evenly into the prepared pan. Spread the jam over the dough, leaving a bare 1/4-inch border around the edges. Scatter the raspberries over the jam in an even layer and crumble the 1/2 cup of reserved dough over the berries.
Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until the edges and topping are golden. Cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.