Saturday, February 28, 2009

Whole Wheat Raspberry-Oat Bars


The original recipe for these bars is my very favorite dessert, crumbly and buttery, smack full of raspberries with a hint of cinnamon.* It also boasts three sticks of butter and only white flour. Overwhelmed by a craving, I thought to redo them more healthfully, in keeping with the crunch and bright berry flavors I love most.

Whole Wheat Raspberry-Oat Bars
Makes 16 bars

2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup natural applesauce (unsweetened)
1-1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup brown sugar (or sugar in the raw)
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 cups whole oats

3 cups frozen raspberries
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup natural applesauce (unsweetened)
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat the oven to 375ยบ and butter or spray a 9"x13" rectangular baking dish.

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients from the butter down to the salt until well mixed. Add the oats and mix just to combine. (If mixing by hand, soften the butter in the microwave and mix with applesauce and sugar first, adding the rest of the ingredients once those are combined.) The mixture will be a little bit wet. Press all but 2 cups of it into the bottom of your pan. You may need to wet your hands to smooth the top without it sticking. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is slightly browned.

While the crust bakes, mix the filling together and set aside. Pour over the browned crust, smooshing to cover as neatly as possible. It will spread more while it bakes. Crumble the remaining 2 cups of the oat mixture over the top of the berry filling. Bake another 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the berries are bubbling at the edges. Let cool on a tray or rack for 30 minutes, then cut into 16 bars. Cool the rest of the way before eating.

*If you have tried the original recipe, this may seem a bit more dull by comparison. But I am thinking of it as an entirely different animal. One high in fiber and fruit, not dulled by too much sugar or bland flour.

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