We’ve been enjoying these raspberry oat bars a lot the last few months. They helped get us through Winter’s dearth of fresh fruit. They are arguably the perfect balance between health food and decadent dessert, with a not-too-rich pecan shortbread base that doubles as a streusel topping and a thick layer of raspberry preserves in between.
GLUTEN-FREE RASPBERRY OAT BARS
Adapted from Karen Demasco’s The Craft of Baking *
The first time I made these bars, the cookie base came out a little thicker than I prefer. So, I’ve since scaled the dough portion of the recipe back by a quarter, which also creates a slightly higher ratio of preserves to dough. Just the way I like it.
Also, my first batch was a little salty. I read later that Demasco uses a particular brand of kosher salt in her baking. So, if using table salt or sea salt, it is necessary to decrease the salt by close to half, which I’ve noted below.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (for vegans: Spectrum organic shortening or Earth Balance margarine)
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour (for GF: 1/3 C. sorghum flour, 1/3 C. + 1 Tbl. brown rice flour, 3 Tbl. potato starch and 3 Tbl. tapioca flour, 1/8 tsp. xanthan gum)
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal (for GF: use gluten-free oats)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup good quality raspberry preserves **
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8 inch square, metal baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Melt butter in saucepan or glass bowl in microwave.
- Toast pecans on baking sheet in oven 5 minutes, cool.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, xanthan gum, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt and baking soda. Stir in the gluten-free oats and chopped pecans. Pour in the melted butter and mix until well combined.
- Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom the oiled pan, until firmly and evenly packed.
- Spread the raspberry preserves over the dough (an offset spatula like pictured above is perfect for this step). Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 of dough evenly over the preserves.
- Bake until golden brown about 40 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- For easier cutting, transfer the cooled pan to the freezer for 20 minutes to harden. Remove bars from freezer, then from pan and cut into 2″ squares.
** I made these once with Smucker’s strawberry jam and the results were very disappointing. The jam layer turned a funny brown color and became very wet. I suspect it was either the high fructose corn syrup in Smucker’s, or the fact that I substituted strawberry for raspberry, but either way, from now on I’ll stick to a true, high quality raspberry preserve WITHOUT high fructose corn syrup. You tend to get what you pay for with a pricier preserve.