As comes with every new year, I stayed up till 12:15 am to welcome the year with open arms only to quickly tell it goodnight; I made my promises for this year to myself and my family; and I wrote down my ten resolutions.
One of these resolutions is to blog more. Hollaaaaa! I know, dear readers (all four of you) that this has made your 2011. Or at least the first 20 hours of it. I should probably make a resolution to actually spread the word about my blog a little better, but that will come with time.
Another resolution is to be more healthy and usually, after the onslaught of the holidays and various gorgefests involving cookies, pies and all things sweet, I am ready for this time of cleansing and healthy eating. This feeling wears off just in time for Valentine’s day and the cravings for chocolate to pick back up again . . .
Anywho, in the meantime, if you are looking for a way to ease off the sweets, I recommend this recipe. It looks like a dessert but is actually a buttery, crumbly, not-that-sweet bar that looks pretty and is perfect for a snowy morning. You can trick yourself that it is dessert by topping it with some cool whip. Don’t be alarmed by how much flour is in it. Just remember that I warned you about its not too-sweet taste. Robbie calls it a “gourmet pop tart.” However, pop tarts are quality too so I recommend keeping them both around.
Raspberry Crumb Bars
From Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
2 cups unsalted butter, melted
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup raspberry jam (I splurged with this ingredient and got the fancy schmancy Swiss preserves kind).
4 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cups unpacked light brown sugar
2 cups softened unsalted butter - cut into small pieces
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter over low heat while stirring. Don't use high heat, or you will end up with clarified butter! Combine melted butter with flour in a large bowl. The dough will be soft. Spread dough evenly on an ungreased baking sheet or a jelly roll pan (12 by 18 inch pan). Bake crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. This could take up to 50 minutes.
(A word of warning – I don’t make a good crumb crust. I don’t know if it is because I don’t let the butter soften enough or if I let it soften too much. Or maybe there is too much flour. Who knows? I even used my new pastry blender that I got as a wedding present. That just made my knuckles messy with buttery flour.)
Mix flour, brown sugar and salt. Add softened and cut butter to flour mixture. Mixture should be crumbly. Or, as in my case, mixture should be at the point where you just don’t want to mess with it anymore.
Beat raspberry jam till it is smooth and spread it over the cooled base, leaving 1/4 inch edge all around. This was tricky for me because the jam kept pulling the base up. I would almost add a little more jam to make it easier and probably even yummier. Sprinkle topping generously over the jam layer. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.