Thursday, July 14, 2011

Berry Crumb Bars

You know how guys are supposed to bring flowers when they pick up a girl to go on a date? I think girls should bring berry crumb bars when they go on a date. Maybe in a little cardboard box. The kind you sometimes get at a restaurant to take home your food.

I thought about this. Berry crumb bars would be perfect for this. You can cut them in little bite size pieces. So that they are kind of like chocolate chip cookies. But they are not as heavy as chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip cookies make a boy think of his mom, or his grandma, or the old lady across the street who used to make them when he was in first grade. And ideally a boy shouldn't think about any of those people when he sees a girl who he is going on a date with.

Also, the crumb bars have some oats in the crumble topping, which qualifies them as a breakfast food, right? Get it? So, he can eat one of those crumb bars in the morning. And think about the girl. And send her a text message that says something like "thinking about you," instead of waiting three days to make any kind of contact.

Oh, and they tell him that the girl can bake. And I'm pretty sure all guys like girls who can bake. Especially girls who can bake more than the packaged pillsbury or betty crocker brownies.
Oh, how I hope that boys start bringing flowers again (and I mean not just the day after valentines day...) and girls start bringing baked goods for boys. Wouldn't that be nice?

By the way, just to be clear, boys can bring baked goods, too. Actually if a boy brought me homemade baked goods, I'd probably break all unspoken rules and tell him that I love him and have never felt this way before about anyone and that I want to marry him right there, right this second.
But that might just be me...

So, anyways. Here is what to do!
Preheat the oven.Grease a rectangular baking pan with butter. My pan looks kind of gross (rusty). Don't judge.

Get out all the ingredients to prepare the dough.
Sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, cold butter, egg, lemon (zest)

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt in a arge bowl.

Cut the butter into small pieces so that mixing them with the dry ingredients will be easier.

Add the butter to the dough and combine butter and flour mixture. This is kind of tough, especially if the butter is really cold (freezer kind of cold) but it'll come together with a little work. I usually either rub the butter between thumb and index finger to combine with the flour mix or I use the palm of my hand to push on the butter pieces in order to get them to combine with the butter.

When it all starts coming together you add the egg and keep kneading the dough until it gets sort of crumbly but stays together as well.
Sort of like this:
Divide the dough in half and wrap one part in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. The other half you'll need to start patting down into the greased pan. This will be the crust.

It's tasty. Even un-baked. I know this because I tried some. If you also decide to try some and still want a lot of crumble topping you may want to add some flour, sugar, butter, and maybe even some extra lemon zest. I had to.

When you put the dough in the pan, start with the bottom of the pan and use your palms to flatten out the dough in the pan.
When the bottom of the pan is covered with dough, get little pieces of dough and press them on the sides of the pan. 
All the sides of the pan...
Now for the fruit filling. You can pretty much use any kind of in season berries. I used blueberries and cut up strawberries. 
Mix the fruit with cornstarch, fresh lemon juice (from the lemon that was used for zest) and sugar. Make sure all the berries are covered.
Pour the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust in the rectangular pan and then get the other half of the dough out of the refrigerator. 

Crumble up the dough and add some oats. Sprinkle the crumb mix evenly over the fruit so that pretty much all the berries are covered. 
Put the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown, which took an hour and increasing the temperature to 400 degrees for the last ten minutes in my oven.

Clean-up-time! Not too bad for something that tastes and looks like it took some effort (it's easy, put don't tell anyone)
At the end of the baking time the kitchen will smell mouthwatering and something like this will come out of the oven.
I know it's hard, but try to let it cool down before cutting it into bars. The whole cutting thing is A LOT easier if it's cold. One could serve this with ice cream (you may notice, a recurring theme - anything I make can be served with ice cream...) but it's pretty good and flavorful by itself.
The berry crumb bars keep for a few days. They can be frozen as well. If you do that, just thaw them all the way through before putting them in the oven for a minute and serving them. 

If you plan on eating them within three or four days though, it's fine to just keep them in the fridge. 
Wohl schmeckt's!

Berry Crumb Bars 

- 1 cup white sugar

- 3 cups all-purpose flour

- 1 teaspoon baking powder

- zest of 1 lemon 

-1/4 teaspoon salt

- 2 sticks cold, unsalted butter

- 1 egg

- 4-5 cups of (cut up) fresh berries 

- juice of one lemon

- 1/2 cup of white sugar

- 4 teaspoons of cornstarch

-1/2 cup of oats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a rectangular pan (9x13 inches) with butter.

Mix flour, salt, sugar, lemon zest and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut up butter into small pieces and incorporate into the flour mix. Add the egg and keep mixing until the dough is crumbly but will hold together. 

Divide the dough in two parts and wrap one in plastic wrap and put into the fridge. 

Pat the other half of the dough down into the pan and on the sides to create a crust. 

Mix the berries with the cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar. Cover all the berries and pour the fruit filling onto the dough in the pan.

Use the refrigerated dough and crumble it up in a bowl. Add the oats and sprinkle the oat crumb topping over the fruit to create a crumble topping. 

Bake for about 50 minutes until crumb topping turns golden brown. 

Let cool completely before cutting into pieces. 

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I generally try not to think of my mom, grandma, or old neighbor across the street when a chick brings cookies to a date (which I have to admit she seldom does). Crumb cake is definitely a better answer. Looks so good!