Sunday, January 10, 2010

Berry-licious Squares

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It's the middle of winter and fresh berries are out of season. So what can you do if you have this urge for something fruity and long for the taste of berries? Maybe these Berrylicious Squares will help. I came across a recipe for Raspberry Squares in the The New Best Recipes Cookbook after trying to get some ideas to satisfy this berry craving I had. Thankfully this recipe didn't call for fresh berries but rather, raspberry preserves instead. But that posed another issue... I didn't have any raspberry preserves on hand and I wasn't attempting to head out in this cold weather just for that!

Quickly looking at my pantry, I combined some strawberry and blackberry preserves I had. It's a good thing they are delicious together because I had just enough to make the recipe! You could substitute the raspberry preserves with pretty much any kind you prefer.

Berry-licious Squares
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finelyy chopped pecans or almonds or both (I used only almonds)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup fruit preserves (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry or combo)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9 inch square baking dish by spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Take a large sheet of parchment or foil (large enough for it to have some overhang to help remove the bar from the dish after baking) and place in the greased dish. Spray the parchment/foil with more nonstick cooking spray.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients except for the butter and fruit preserves at low speed. Slowly add the butter a tablespoon at a time and allow the mixture to beat until it starts to resemble wet sand, which will take about 2 minutes.

Place two thirds of this oat mixture into your prepared baking dish and press it down to form the crust. Bake this crust in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, just until it starts to turn brown. Remove the baking dish from the oven and while hot, carefully spread the fruit preserves evenly over the hot crust. Top the preserves with the remaining oat mixture and return the baking dish back into the oven. Allow it to bake (still at 350 degrees) for about 30 minutes, until the preserves start to bubble up around the edges and the top is golden brown. To make sure the top browns evenly, rotate the pan from front to back after 15 minutes.

Cool the baking dish on a wire rack and room temperature, which can take up to 1 1/2 hours. (I know... it was hard to resist cutting a piece and enjoying it right away!) Using the overhang of the parchment or foil, carefully remove the entire square from the cooled baking dish and place it on top of a cutting board. Trim off 1/4 inch from the edges and then cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.

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