I love that these bars have a tartness from the raspberries that pairs beautifully with the buttery shortbread and sweet oatmeal streusel. The All-Time Best Recipes Book from Cook’s Illustrated has a great recipe for “The Best Raspberry Squares,” which I’ve adapted slightly here. The shortbread base is buttery and tender, yet stable enough to support the square. My favorite part is the crunchy streusel topping that I know you all like to pick off and eat because it’s so addictive.
Plus, there’s oats in the streusel and that makes these bars healthy.
All about balance, my friends.
Recipe slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
Best Ever Raspberry Streusel Bars
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cubed
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 (13 ounce) jar raspberry preserves, or your favorite preserves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with a long piece of foil, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Allow the excess foil to hang over the short edges of the pan. Cut a slightly shorter piece of foil and fit it into the width of the baking pan in the same manner. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray. I used a non-stick pan and didn’t have to put in the foil or cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, granulated sugar and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With the machine on low, add 1 cup butter, 1 cube at a time. Continue mixing on low until the mixture resembles damp sand, 1-1 1/2 minutes.
- Remove 1 1/4 cups of the flour mixture into a medium bowl and set aside. Distribute the remaining flour mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Press mixture into an even layer to form the bottom crust. Bake until edges begin to brown, 14-18 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add brown sugar, oats and nuts to the reserved flour mixture; toss to combine. Work in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter by rubbing the mixture between your fingers until it is fully incorporated. Pinch the mixture with your fingers to create hazelnut-sized clumps.
- Mix the preserves with the lemon juice. Spread preserves evenly over the hot crust, then sprinkle evenly with the streusel topping.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is a deep golden brown and filling is bubbling, 22-25 minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, 1-2 hours. Cut into squares and watch them disappear.
- If using a nonstick pan, you may skip the foil and cooking spray. It does make it easier to lift the bars cleanly out of the pan, though.
- If you want to use fresh raspberries, use half the preserves and about ¾ cup fresh or completely thawed frozen raspberries. Mash together with the preserves and lemon juice until combined but some berry pieces remain.
- The bars will cut more cleanly once cooled and filling is set. To get extra clean slices, use a very sharp knife and wipe the blade with hot water in between each cut.
- Last time I made these I used blueberry-lime jam and fresh blueberries. Feel free to play around with the flavors!
Recipe: Original Plum Torte by Marion Burros New York Times. The times published this recipe every year from 1983 to 1989.