Raspberry Crumb Bars

I found this recipe in Everyday Food while I was still in college and struggling to learn how to cook. Baking always came easier, it’s measure and stir, but I know not everyone agrees.

This recipe is very easy and the only way I tweak it from its original form is that I add more butter. I know that sounds crazy!! But the truth is, if you don’t, you have Raspberry Dust Bars, not Raspberry Crumb Bars. I don’t know about you, but I like crumbs more than dust.

Oh, and I also changed the name. They are really named Almond Fruit Bars but that’s WRONG. So I renamed them Raspberry Crumb Bars. So there.

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter plus two tablespoons, at room temperature

1.5 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup sliced almonds (even if you think you don’t like them)

1/2 cup of seedless (ideal, but not necessary) raspberry jam

Combine the butter, sugar and brown sugar in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy.

Add one egg yolk,

and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the dough while mixing at medium speed. Stir until crumbs form.

Stir in the almonds by hand and divide the dough in half. Press half into the bottom of a greased 8×8 pan.

In a small bowl, whisk the raspberry jam so it becomes easy to spread. Pour it over the crumb bottom, leaving a border so it doesn’t leak out while baking.

Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until it’s a light golden color.

Let it cook completely and use a serrated knife to cut it into bars. Enjoy!

Apple Crumb Cheesecake

So let’s pretend that no one cares about fat, cholesterol, sugar, or cellulite. Pretending? Ok, now you can make these cheesecake bars.

Paula Deen’s Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bar recipe is here. It’s pretty good as is, but it has three sticks of butter and a completely unnecessary caramel sauce. I changed the crust to a graham cracker one and took out the sauce. It’s better (and less fattening).

Crust Ingredients

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (store-bought or homemade)

1/3 cup of butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

Cheesecake Ingredients

2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Mixture Ingredients

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons of sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (Paula calls for more but I don’t like too much)

Streusel Crumb Topping Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats (I used old-fashioned and they were fine)

1 stick of butter melted

I know it looks like a lot, but it’s not difficult, it’s just a matter of assembling all the parts.

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the crust ingredients and mix together with a fork. Gently press it into a 13×9 pan.

To soften the cream cheese, microwave it for 15-second increments until it’s a little soft. You DON’T want to cook/melt it. Combine the cream cheese with 1/2 sugar and mix on medium speed until they are smooth and combined.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and the teaspoon of vanilla. Mix until it’s a smooth batter consistency. Carefully pour over the crust. Smooth it out with a large spoon but be careful not to scoop up the crumb bottom with it.

Eeek! We’re naked!

Peel and chop the apples and stir them in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle them over the cheesecake.

Combine the melted butter, flour, brown sugar, and oats and make crumbs with your hands (or a fork if you’re feeling prissy). Sprinkle the crumbs over the apples.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick comes out (mostly) clean. Let cool for 30 minutes or so and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Enjoy!