The first weekend in February has been a stunner. The sun has wrestled the sky all to itself, keeping any hint of a cloud free from sight, and the heightened mood and sighs of relief from the doldrums January may have created seem to have evaporated.
While there will be many Super Bowl gatherings taking place today, the only television I will be looking forward to watching this evening will be a new episode of Downton Abbey and an extra new episode of Elementary. Other than that, I’ll be stepping outside, tinkering in the kitchen, typing away on the laptop and doing a bit of leisure reading as I rest up for the week.
As I patiently wait for the last major piece of the kitchen facelift to arrive (the window treatments), I have been playing in the kitchen. On Friday, I pulled out Ina Garten’s most recent cookbook Foolproof and made her balsamic-roasted brussel sprouts (baked with pancetta) and paired with Chicken Picatta . . . scrumptious. A simple side dish and all-around meal that I highly recommend. If you’ve ever been curious about brussel sprouts, this recipe will promptly have you falling in love with them.
On Saturday morning, while watching Barefoot Contessa, she made a simple dessert that I was curious to try. And when I ventured to try them this morning, I was delighted – buttery, sweet, crunchy and a must-share. Her Raspberry Crumble Bars combine the comforting flavors of shortbread dough and sweet raspberry jam, along with an additional crunch to top it off. I thought what a wonderful treat to celebrate what is already quickly becoming a wonderful month of February. So simple. Let me show you.
Barefoot Contessa’s Raspberry Crumble Bars
*recipe found in Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof (2012)
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10-12 oz good raspberry jam
- 2/3 cup good granola without dried fruit (I prefer Open Nature’ maple Pecan deluxe – 100% natural)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Using either a food processor or electric mixer with paddle attachment, mix sugar and butter just until combined. With processor or mixer on low, add vanilla.
3. Sift the flour and salt together, add to the butter mixture until it almost comes together in a ball. Place the dough out on a board.
4. Lightly pat two-thirds of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan and about 1/4 inch up the sides.
5. Spread with jam, leaving a 1/4-inch border to make sure the jam doesn’t stick to the pan making it difficult to remove the bars.
6. Mix the granola into the remaining dough with your hands. Break the dough into small bits and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface.
7. Sprinkle the almonds on top.
8. Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.
9. Cool completely.
10. Cut into 9 or 12 bars. Sprinkle lightly with confectioners’ sugar.
Grab a cup of your favorite tea or coffee and enjoy!
All images by TSLL