Oatmeal Crumble Berry Bars

by Jul 13, 2019

single square of oatmeal crumble berry bar on plate with fork and purple napkin

There are thousands of recipes out there for something similar. But the reason I post is to share what I learn while trying to make something bakery-worthy here at home.

I was perfectly happy buying a local coffee shop’s berry bar now and then until suddenly, they weren’t very good anymore. What the heck? The next time I was in, I noticed a sign posted to employees that said “keeps for 3 days” and then it dawned on me—same thing happened to me with a recent batch of chocolate chip cookies: when you store baked goods air-tight and there’s any moisture in them whatsoever, any crispy-crunchy is going to vanish. Yep, that’s right. Everything we love—those crunchy nuggets, the caramelized edge bits, the fine outer shell of a perfect chocolate chip cookie—gone. A thing of the past. Never to return. So, don’t do that.

What do you do? Two words: loosely covered. My favorite way to store something like these bars is to leave them in the pan and loosely cover with foil. You want some air circulation if you want to keep any crunch.

square pan with bottom oatmeal crust pressed flat with measuring cup bottom
Press down firmly using bottom of a measuring cup

Speaking of crunch. I also want a crisp bottom layer to my bar cookies. So, I tamp it down firmly and blind bake for 10 minutes. Then I add the jam, berries and crumble and put it in the oven to bake completely.

square pan with jam and mix of fresh raspberries and a few blackberries, oatmeal crumble on top (unbaked)
Crumble topping over rhubarb compote, fresh raspberries and a few blackberries

Oatmeal Crumble Berry Bars

adapted from gimmesomeoven's Oatmeal Blueberry Crumble Bars

Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (or raw cane turbinado if you want more of a crunch) reduce to 1/2 cup if you're using all jam filling or if you just want it less sweet
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling: any combination of jam, fruit compote, fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries (not a lot, just a layer, do what you like)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 square pan with a sheet of parchment.

  2. Mix together the oats, flours, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the melted butter and stir to combine.

  3. Put a little more than half of the oatmeal crumble in the pan and press firmly to make an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.

  4. Spread compote or jam over blind-baked bottom crust, add fresh berries and top with the remaining oatmeal crumble. Bake for about 35 minutes, until top is beginning to brown. Set on a rack to cool completely.


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