Raspberry Thyme Oat Bars

Raspberry Thyme Oat Bars

Berries, berries, berries. It’s basically all I have on my mind. I’ve gone strawberry picking a few time this summer and I’m eagerly anticipating blueberry picking. I think I’m driving the local farmer crazy with all my questions about when the blueberry patch will be open for picking. I just love the access to fresh, local berries this time of year. They make for easy snacking and, of course, even better desserts.

The other people I’m driving crazy with picking is my family. They’re all pretty tired of me dragging them out for picking but it’s become a bit of a summer tradition for us. I think the only thing that gets them to come with me is the promise of dessert.

Back in January while we were on vacation, Dan randomly bought a raspberry bar mix at a local grocery store. He asked me if I wouldn’t mind making them since he “loves raspberry bars.” Since when does he “love them!” I thought and why raspberry? I mean if you’re going to come home with a mix of some kind wouldn’t it be brownies? However, I ended up loving the idea of them too. I just couldn’t get passed the overly sweet goo from the bag that was suppose to be raspberries. I also wanted a more substantial bar so, when we returned home, I started working on my own recipe.

These bars have a thick base so when you bite into them, they remind you of a blondie. Then there is the gooey, burst of raspberries and a buttery crumble topping. My husband declared them better than the box. Obviously. I like to add a sprinkle of fresh thyme to the top the right as you pull them from the oven since it gives them a fancy flavour profile. The raspberries as well as the lemon zest in the middle are a nice compliment to the herb. Plus if you’re using them as a gift or a special occasion, the addition of the thyme make them feel more special. They definitely don’t feel like they’re from a box that way!

Photo by Ashley van der Laan

Raspberry Thyme Oat Bars

Makes 12-18 bars
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3 cups spelt flour
  • 2 cups loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 oz fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsps raspberry jam
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment; set aside.
  • Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and butter into a crumb-like mixture. Press 2/3 of the mix into an even layer in your prepared baking dish. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add fresh raspberries to a medium bowl. With the back of a wooden spoon or masher, press the berries until partially smashed with some big bits. Mix in the sugar, jam and zest. Sift in the flour and corn starch and stir.
  • Arrange the raspberry layer on the baked bottom layer. (You can do this with the bottom still hot from the oven.) Sprinkle the remaining crumble over top of the berries. Place back into the oven and bake for another 25 -30 minutes, until crumble is lightly brown and berries are slightly bubbly.
  • Sprinkle the warm top with thyme. Allow to cool on the counter and then chill in the refrigerator so they will cut easily into bars, about 2 hours. Lift parchment from pan and cut into squares.

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