It's almost raspberry season! For as long as we have lived in Connecticut we've made an annual summer pilgrimage to the local raspberry fields with kids in tow, white picking buckets strung around our necks and taste buds primed for a fresh batch of raspberry jam smothered on bread warm from the oven.
When the kids were little they kept themselves busy in the raspberry fields by eating more than they picked. When they were a bit older they picked more berries than they ate. And then suddenly they were grown up enough to be really useful pickers. That year we accidentally ended up with twice as many berries as we were expecting - an entire trunk full. After making all the jam that we, and our friends and relatives could consume in an entire year, I set about trying to make use of our surplus. Tough job that was!
I hope I never complained about all those excess raspberries we accidentally picked. Last year when the berries were ripe it was just Scott and I alone in the fields. Ben was in Mexico, Sarah had gone off to college, and Rebekah was busy at school. Maybe I didn't miss all the raspberries ground into the tile floor and the red smears across the cupboard doors, but I miss my kids and all that excess...
Here is a recipe to use up a few of your extra raspberries.
Raspberry Streusel Bars
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12.5 ounces)
2/3 cup sugar (4.75 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter PLUS 2 tablespoons, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened to cool room temperature
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark) (1.75 ounces)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (1.5 ounces)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (more or less)
3/4 cup raspberry preserves (8.5 ounces)
3/4 cup fresh raspberries (3.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving some overhang to use as handles when lifting the cooked bars from the pan. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor, process flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Scatter 16 tablespoons of butter over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles damp sand, about twenty quick pulses. (A pastry blender or stand mixer can be used instead of a food processor.)
Remove 1 1/4 cup of flour/butter/sugar mixture and set aside in a medium bowl. Place remaining flour/butter/sugar mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Firmly press mixture into an even layer (a flat-bottomed measuring cup is helpful) to form a bottom crust. Bake for about 14 to 18 minutes until the edges just begin to brown.
While the crust is baking, make the streusel topping. Add brown sugar and oats to the reserved flour/butter/sugar mixture. Work in remaining 2 tablespoons butter by rubbing mixture between fingers until butter is fully incorporated. Pinch the dough into little blobs about the size of hazelnuts and set aside.
Combine preserves, raspberries, and lemon juice in a small bowl; mash with a fork until combined but some berry pieces remain.
Spread filling over hot crust; sprinkle streusel topping evenly over filling (no need to press streusel into filling) followed by the chocolate chips. Return to oven and bake about 22 to 25 minutes or until topping is deep golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool to room temperature on wire rack, about 2 hours then remove from baking pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut into squares and serve. These are best eaten the day they are baked, but will keep in an airtight container for about 3 days.
Notes on the Recipe:
The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans instead of chocolate chips. I've always meant to try it that way, but whenever I make the recipe I can't stop myself from reaching for the chocolate chips.