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Recipe: Raspberry-Oat Bars
Nutty and fruity and crumbly and extremely delicious.
Several readers have asked for this recipe, which I mentioned in my last weekly food roundup. It's from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, originally published in 2008, which I am embarrassed to say I've had on my shelf for years and hardly used—that is, until I started cooking Ottolenghi's newer recipes and realized I should dust off this older book. So far, I've spent most time exploring the baking and desserts sections and have found some real winners.
I don't go for delicate desserts. I like sweets with loads of texture and flavour, that fill me up more as much as they delight my palate. For example, I'd take an apple crumble pie any day over a lemon meringue pie because there's just more to chew on. These raspberry-oat bars fulfill that craving of mine. They feel hearty yet decadent. One is sufficient to hit the spot (well, maybe two) when I have a sweet craving. I hope you like them as much as I do—and maybe, like me, you’ll make them twice in one week!
The recipe has been slightly modified from its original form, based on my experimentation. You could use chopped almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and/or coconut in place of other nuts in the topping, as well.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
5 tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup raspberry jam, store-bought or homemade
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopping
1/2 cup cashew nuts, coarsely chopped
6 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and line it with parchment paper.
To make the base, mix together the flour and baking powder. Add the butter, sugar, and salt, and rub everything together with your fingertips to form crumbs. Stir in the oats. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan; don't press down too much, so the base remains light. Bake for 20 minutes, or until very light brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little, then spread with the jam.
To make the topping, place all the nuts in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the butter, sugar, milk, and extract. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then pour the mixture over the chopped nuts and stir together. Pack the nut mix evenly over the jam and return the pan to the oven for 30 minutes, until the nuts have turned a nice golden brown.
Leave to cool (it will be bubbling when you pull it out of the oven), then remove from the pan by lifting out the parchment. Slice into bars or squares. Makes 16 squares.
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