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blackberry breakfast bars

November 19, 2010

Back in October, Chris and I did a Making Strides walk with his family, and Chris decided he wanted to make pink granola bars for the walkers on our team to snack while they powered through the trail. We figured just adding red food coloring to a regular granola bar recipe wouldn’t really work out and would probably look entirely unappetizing, so we searched for a recipe that could be interpreted as pink-ish naturally.

Smitten Kitchen’s raspberry breakfast bars looked like they’d do just fine. Only we didn’t have raspberries, only blackberries, so the pink-ish-ness was basically bred out. I also decided to break out my inner Martha Stewart and pipe pink ribbons on the top of each bar. It turns out, though, that the yellow food coloring bottle looks a lot like red. We did a rescue mission to scoop the yellow out of the icing, but I think there was just enough in there to make the pink turn out a kind of gross shade of hot orange.

So fail on the pink front. Also, when we got to the starting line on the day of the walk, we still had an hour to go before we could start and everyone was hungry already, so they didn’t even make it to the walk themselves. Also, they kind of got messed up and even more unpretty after we cut them up and bagged them. Also, I only got one poopy, poopy picture of them with my point-and-shoot on the day of. But still, they were yummy, and that’s all that matters, right?

A couple of notes: If you do use blackberries instead of raspberries, you might want to cut them in half before adding them to the bars because they’re so much sturdier than raspberries that they might not break down as well in the oven. We realized this only after we’d covered them up with the crumb layer, so we had to do some recon missions into the oven periodically to mash up the berries so that they’d spread more evenly. I have a feeling they would’ve turned out fine anyway, but it might be easier just to make the berries smaller from the get-go. The oat mixture also looked really, really dry to me—like, no-way-is-this-going-to-turn-into-a-cohesive-mass dry—but it all turned out pretty well in the end, if a bit crumbly, so no worries if you feel the same way. And if you happen to sneak a bite (or two, or five) of the filling before it’s baked, it’ll probably taste really, really lemony. Even Chris thought it was too lemony, and he eats lemons straight (weirdo). However, I didn’t really notice it when we ate the bars, so no worries on that front, either, especially if you let them mellow in the fridge for a day before you serve them.

Blackberry Breakfast Bars
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 lb. blackberries, fresh or frozen [halved]
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. To make the crust and crumb, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. Butter the parchment.
2. Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form.
3. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the blackberry filling.
4. To make the filling, in a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, and flour together. Add the blackberries, lemon juice, and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the blackberries are evenly coated.
5. Spread the filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes [ummm about that…], until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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