Growing up, my mom had a Land O Lakes cookbook that was given to her as a Christmas gift by one of our neighbors. Of any cookbook my mom had (aside from her ragged and worn 1970s edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook), we seemed to make things from this book more than most. One such item was a raspberry crumble bar. It was the simplest thing in the world, instructing you to mix up a quick crumbly dough, press half in the pan, spread that half with raspberry jam and crumble the reserved dough on top. Once baked, the bars had a soft and buttery base, topped with tart-sweet jam and tasty little crumbly crunchy bits. My sister and I loved them, and they were basically irresistible cause I never remember any pan of them lasting very long.
The standard original recipe using raspberry jam is very good as-is, but I wanted to experiment with something a little different. One of my favorite flavor combinations is strawberry and lime. I thought these bars would be wonderful with this combo, and boy was I right. The lime cuts perfectly through the sweet strawberry jam, but it is not overpowering in the slightest. I know that the groundhog didn’t exactly have it right when he predicted an early spring this year (at least as far as the mid-west/east coast are concerned), but these buttery little bars are perfect for ushering in springtime weather… or at least they’re perfect for whenever springtime happens to grace you with it’s presence!
strawberry-lime crumble bars
(yields 18 bars)
2 1/4 c all purpose flour (274 g)
1/2 c granulated sugar (106 g)
1/2 c brown sugar (102 g)
1 c sliced almonds, roughly chopped (108 g)
zest of 2 medium limes, divided
2 sticks (8 oz) soft butter
1 – 13 oz jar good-quality strawberry jam
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8×8 inch square baking dish by coating it with cooking spray. Set the pan aside and let’s make the crust!
In a medium-large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, almonds and the zest of one lime until they’re well mixed. Add the butter and the egg and mix it all together by hand, sort of squeezing the dough in your hands to make sure it’s fully combined and there’s no flour left at the bottom. Once the crust is all mixed, scoop out about 1 cup of it and set it aside. Take the rest of the crust mixture and pat it out into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set the pan aside, and mix the jam with the remaining lime zest in a small bowl. Spread the jam evenly over the dough pressed into the pan and crumble the reserved one cup of crust evenly over the top of the jam.
Bake the bars for 45-50 minutes at 350, until the jam is bubbling and the top crumbly part is just starting to turn golden brown. Take the pan out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature on a cooling rack, and then put in the fridge until they’re fully cool before you cut the bars. I was feeling a little impatient so I cut the bars while they were still partially warm, which means they’re more fragile. Go ahead and try this if you must, but proceed at your own risk as they fall apart very easily when warm! To cut them, lift the cooled bars out of the pan and place onto a cutting board. Cut them into 18 little rectangles.
These little bars are perfectly sweet and bright with lime flavor, and I absolutely have to restrict myself from just having one at a time. Feel free to cut each bar in half so you wind up with 36 total, as they can be deceivingly rich. However, the smaller they are, the more easily to inhale they are. This may be a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, these bars should keep for about 5-7 days before they suffer any loss of texture. Feel free to eat one whenever you’re bemoaning another late March snowfall in your neck of the woods. Simultaneously cursing Punxsutawney Phil is totally optional, FYI.