Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
This blog post is brought to you by TheFeedFeed and @Crowded_Kitchen
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and we’re thankfully experiencing some gorgeous Spring weather after a painfully long winter! I crave fresh berries all year long, but there’s something about a beautiful warm, sunny day that makes berries truly irresistible. On one of our first warm days last week, I took a huge bowl of berries outside on our porch, sat down in the sun, and willed summer to come sooner!
We love enjoying fresh berries on their own (nature’s candy!), but these bars are my absolute favorite baking recipe incorporating fresh berries. We first tried a similar recipe many years ago when we were able to eat gluten and dairy and made them all time, always with raspberries, which lend so well to that jammy texture we’re looking for. Flash forward to the launch of Crowded Kitchen; this recipe has been on our “to-do” list from the beginning! By “to-do list”, I mean recipes that we used to make with gluten, dairy, meat, etc. that we’d like to make vegan and gluten free. Baking recipes, in particular, can be tricky to make gluten free/vegan, but we certainly don’t mind the extensive taste testing!
We were absolutely thrilled to develop this recipe in partnership with Driscoll’s Berries and The Feedfeed. We’ve been lifelong fans of Driscoll’s; living in Michigan, we love having access to delicious, ripe berries all year long (especially during extended winters, like the one that just ended!). Driscoll’s is a top producer of berries for good reason - they’re always the freshest and best-tasting option available. They’re so committed to quality that they actually follow the sun to different growing locations in order to provide the best-tasting raspberries all year long. (Can we join them? I’ll happily volunteer as an on-site berry tester). Their research team works hard to naturally breed the best possible berries by picking out elite parent plants and matching the best berries. How cool is that?! (Seriously, Driscoll’s - I’ll happily move to California for you.)
This recipe is at the top of our Mother’s Day menu. It’s brunch and dessert appropriate, so we suggest making an extra large batch! It’s no surprise that I love cooking and baking with my mom, hence the existence of this blog. Baking, especially, has always been a fantastic way for us to bond. My favorite work days involve long hours in the kitchen with mom, blasting Frank Sinatra (yes, that’s our cooking music of choice), and just laughing and chatting while baking up some delicious goods. I’m fortunate to share these daily moments with my mom, and I’ll certainly treasure them for years to come.
Bring your mom a large batch of these bars and a bouquet of flowers this Mother’s Day!
Raspberry Jam Filling:
5 cups fresh Driscoll’s raspberries
2 tbsp cane sugar
3 tbsp agave
1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
⅓ cup finely diced and peeled apple
5 tbsp chia seeds
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sweet rice flour
½ cup almonds + 2 tbsp chopped almonds reserved for topping
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 ½ tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
1 cup dairy free butter, chilled and cut into pieces
3 tbsp creamy almond butter
Raspberry Jam Filling:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring all ingredients except chia seeds to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Softly mash the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon to achieve jam-like consistency.
Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds. Let sit 30 minutes to cool and thicken.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a food processor, blend all dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms. Add wet ingredients and continue to pulse until well incorporated. You may need to transfer to a large mixing bowl and knead lightly before pressing into pan.
Press ½-⅔ of mixture into an 8x8 parchment paper lined pan.
Spread 2 cups of jam mixture over top to form an even layer. Sprinkle remaining crumble over the top.
Bake for 27-30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle top with 2 tbsp of crushed almonds. Return to o
ven for additional 6-8 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!