I needed to make some finger desserts for our homeschool group's promotion, and just wanted to try something new. I found this delicious recipe in my new cookbook, More Best Recipes (from the editors of Cook's Illustrated - my fave cooking magazine). I love making bar cookies, as they are so easy to make and they bake all in one batch. You can cut them into pretty little squares (or big squares) or even nice triangles. They are the perfect little desserts to serve at tea. I love raspberry anything, so these sounded great. I used frozen raspberries (I picked them out of my 3-berry frozen blend!), and the result was great.
Here's a great tip for whenever you are making bar cookies. Line the baking pan with foil. I get two pieces, and lay them perpendicular in the pan. That way the whole bottom of the pan is covered. I press down to make sure the foil is not loose anywhere. Then, I spray liberally with Pam spray. When the cookies are cooled after baking, you simply lift the foil up and out, and onto a cutting board. The foil serves two purposes: it provides for easy to cut bars, and NO clean up with the pan! I like that second one a lot.
2 ½ cups flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
16 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons butter, cut into ½ inch pieces and softened
½ cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup raspberry preserves (Smucker’s Red Raspberry is best)
¾ cup fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with two pieces of foil (perpendicular to each other – foil should extend past the pan on all sides). Spray with non-stick spray.
In a standing mixer, mix flour, granulated sugar, and salt at low speed until combined. With the machine on low, add 16 tablespoons of the butter, one piece at a time, until mixture resembles damp sand. Measure 1 ¼ cups of the flour mixture into a medium bowl and set aside. Press the remaining mixture into an even layer to form the bottom crust in prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to brown, about 14-18 minutes.
While the crust is baking, add the oats, nuts, and brown sugar to the reserved flour mixture; toss to combine. Work in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until well incorporated (hands work best). Set aside.
Combine the preserves, raspberries, and lemon juice in a small bowl; mash with a fork until combined but some berry pieces remain. Spread the raspberry filling evenly over hot crust; sprinkle streusel topping over the filling (do not press down). Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is deep golden brown and bubbly, 22-25 minutes. Cool to room temperature, 1-2 hours. Lift the bars out of the pan, using the foil. Cut the bars into 24 squares and serve.