Friday, May 22, 2015

Berry Crumble Bars

I am a creature of habit, made even more so by having kids. My life as family chef is so much easier when I know that Mondays and Tuesdays are steel cut oat or Greek-style yogurt mornings, Wednesdays are for smoothies and Thursdays and Fridays are for hard-boiled eggs. I am eternally thankful that both kids love eggs as much as their parents and that we can get top-quality pastured eggs from Green Bow Farm thanks to their egg CSA. I like to serve our morning eggs with fruit (most often grapefruit in winter) and some sort of baked good such as Applesauce Quinoa or Flax Bran muffins (or those delectable Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits). In the depressing shoulder season between fall and winter fruits and early strawberries, I often combine the fruit and baked good into one by making these berry crumble bars (also known as crumble bumble bars for some season).

My recipe is taken from Megan Gordon's Blueberry Breakfast Bars posted on The Kitchn. I made a very few adjustments based on my own preferences, such as using cinnamon instead of lemon in the filling, and substituting pepitas for the sesame seeds. The kids love these bars and the adults in the family think they're pretty great, too. I think that they'd be tasty mixed into some thick full-fat yogurt, as well, and they're delicious on their own alongside a large cup of tea for an afternoon pick-me-up.

INGREDIENTS

Filling
12 oz berries of any type, fresh or frozen--I don't bother to thaw first
1/4 c sugar (I used coconut sugar but any type would do)
2 TBSP ground flax (or you could use 3 TBSP flour)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Splash of water if the berries are frozen

Crumble crust
50 g rolled oats
100 g rye flakes (or any combination of any flakes)
60 g almonds (Gordon specifies sliced but I've used whole with no issues; I just pulsed them a few times before adding the other ingredients)
30 g pepitas, pecans or sesame seeds
120 g whole wheat flour (soft or hard wheat or spelt though the bars might be a bit crumblier with spelt)
1/2 c (75 g) sugar (Gordon calls for light brown sugar but I've also used just plain sugar with no problems)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
8 TBSP (115 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1 large egg, beaten
2-4 TBSP ice water

DIRECTIONS
  1. Grease an 8-inch square pan and preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Place all of the filling ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium, stirring a few times, until the mixture is bubbly. If you're using frozen berries, add a splash of water to help them not stick to the pan and stir more frequently at the beginning. Set aside
  3. If using whole nuts, process them briefly in the food processor until they're chopped medium fine
  4. Add the remaining ingredients up to the butter and pulse together until blended and chopped fine
  5. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like small peas
  6. Add the beaten egg and pulse until combined
  7. Add the water and pulse, starting with 2 TBSP. Expect the mixture still to look crumbly but it should be clumping together
  8. Press about 2/3 of the crumble crust as evenly as you can into the bottom of the prepared pan
  9. Pour over the berry filling
  10. Distribute the rest of the crumble mixture over the berries somewhat evenly
  11. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the topping is brown

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