Raspberry Crumble Bars

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When I was a kid, I remember hearing my parents and their friends talk about how time moves faster and faster for them every year. At a young age, time crawled by for me. School days seemed overly-long, summer felt like it lasted half the year, and a year was an eternity. I spent days exploring the trees of Lighthouse field, sprinting around the neighborhood, and filling water balloons. The key was in the choice—I didn’t have to do any of it. But grow I did, and so did my responsibilities. First it was homework, then grocery shopping, dinners and lunches to make, an apartment to clean. And every year I think to myself, as the days pass by in a blur, they were right. And I don’t even have kids yet.

Speaking of lost time, school starts again in about a week, and I have only one more day of my internship left. I’m excited to go back to school for the last time, although I have really enjoyed the lack of homework in the “real-world.” The projects that I’ve been able to contribute to at Still Room has reaffirmed my interest in being a designer, and for that I am grateful. I would hate to be left waffling around in my last year of school, trying to figure out if I was studying for a career that I would actually like.

Jonji is done with one quarter of his third year in medical school! That whole 12 weeks was taken up by his surgery rotation, and now he’s on to Pediatrics. He’s decided that he does not like the OR aspect of surgery (which is pretty much the only aspect of surgery) and therefore is looking to other specialties. I am a bit relieved, to be honest—surgeons have notoriously long education careers (a minimum of five years of residency after school!).

As some of you may have seen on my Instagram, I have now entered the wonderful world of pickling. I think I may have been meant to live a few hundred years ago, since I seem to relish a lot of time-consuming, hands-on projects. Pickling is actually a lot of fun, and extremely exciting for this 18th-century-minded woman. So far I’ve managed to pickle cucumbers, carrots, okra, green beans, and summer squash. And yes, that’s my idea of a good time. If you’re interested, I highly recommend getting a copy of Saving the Season by Kevin West, which will tell you pretty much all you need to know about pickling.

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Last weekend Jonji and I went to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl with Eric and Liz. I had never heard of Rodrigo y Gabriela before, but I was willing to be enlightened. We parked a ways off to avoid the horrendous post-concert traffic, and got to the Bowl during the opening act. We chatted happily on the way to our seats, earning a few reproachful looks from people who seem to think that speaking during an orchestra’s performance is a crime. We finally made it to our seats and immediately began eating, trying not to crunch our pretzels too loudly and risk the ire of those orchestra aficionados. Rodrigo y Gabriela were very impressive—their guitar skills are amazing, and they use more of the instrument than I thought possible. But I was almost equally impressed by the sheer volume of food and drink that Eric managed to pull out of one paper bag, which he seemed to continuously dip into throughout the entire performance. I’m calling some Hermione’s-beaded-bag shenanigans. Near the end of the concert, I brought out a couple containers full of Raspberry Crumble Bars, which were an instant hit. I had to force myself to pass them around, rather than hoarding them all for myself like Smaug and her apricot jam (if you’re thinking, Smaug…she?…Wait, jam??, refer to a couple of my oldest posts).

I absolutely love dessert bars, and I especially love bars with buttery crust and fruity, oozy filling. I walked into the store last weekend to see neat stacks of perfectly ripe raspberries, and decided on the spot that I had to bake with them. Thus, the Raspberry Crumble Bars were born. These bars are made with fresh raspberries, although you can use jam if you can’t find decent berries. And if you’re not prepared to share them, you may want to leave them at home.

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Raspberry Crumble Bars
makes one 9 x 13-inch pan

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
2 1/4 cups flour*
1 1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

3 pints fresh raspberries
1 tbsp sugar
1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch pan and line with parchment paper. Leave an inch or so hanging over the longer sides of the pan to make lifting the bars out easier.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until thoroughly mixed, about a minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Press all but 1 cup of the dough into the prepared pan.

Put all of the raspberries into another bowl along with the 1 tbsp sugar and the lemon juice. Using a whisk, gently pound the berries until they resemble a chunky jam. Spread in the baking dish in an even layer.

Sprinkle small chunks of the remaining dough over the raspberry “jam” until you’ve used up all the dough.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack before lifting the bars out of the pan. Cut into squares to serve. Enjoy!

*I’ve used a combination of rice, oat, and almond flours—just be sure to use more rice flour than any of the others.

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