Oh, crumb bars. This is not the first time we’ve met.
I’m addicted to crumb. You show me a crumb cake and I’ll pick off the topping. It’s a dangerous game to play. Don’t hand me anything in the realm of crumb and expect me to eat it like a normal person.
When done correctly, any crumb cake or bar is overflowing with crumb. A crumb fiend like me has to be satisfied, after all. These beautiful bites of heaven are filled with raspberry jam and sandwiched with crumbly oat goodness. They’re also effortlessly gluten-free, which is the only way I wanna do it.
A lot of people who attempt GF baking really don’t understand how it works. They buy the GF flour replacements and assume that it will work out. But folks, a replacement is often a recipe for mediocrity.
That’s why it’s important to bake with unprocessed ingredients you’d use even without the gluten issue. Baking becomes a more natural experience that way, and it tastes better. In this case, I used my ever trusty oat flour (which is ground-up oats) as a base. Because really, who doesn’t love a shot of oatmeal goodness in a crumb bar?
When we don’t force things, they tend to work out better. To be honest, that’s not a lesson I’m very good at learning, but it holds true nonetheless. Some of the best opportunities that have come my way happened when I wasn’t looking for them. I count Kenny among those, as well as the program I teach in. All good stuff.
The same holds true for my brainstorming process. To get all these recipes to you three times a week while juggling a full-time teaching gig and my own children, I have to really let the flow take over. When I force myself to be creative and invent desserts, it tends to be more forced. But when I listen to my intuition, it works out a lot better.
For instance, I’ve been craving crumb bars like crazy since summer hit. I’ve made more than enough crumb bars for JAB, but I really don’t care. We’re going there again!
The gluten-free thing is just an option, but I think it works out well here. Instead of regular flour, which has no taste, oat flour lends a nuttiness to these bars that is really quite lovely. As you know, I don’t eat a GF diet, but my beloved does. So if the bars work out better this way without anyone forcing the issue, so much the better!
Sometimes it’s valuable to just sit back and let opportunity head your way. It might require some patience, but if you work hard and do your best, it will probably come sooner or later!
Raspberry Pecan Crumb Bars (GF)
Crust and Topping
1 cup quick oats
1 cup oat flour (certified GF)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, oat flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and mix until crumbly. Add the pecans and stir until just combined.
- Set aside about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the mixture. Take the remaining crumb mixture and press it firmly into the prepared pan.
- Spread the raspberry jam over the bottom layer.
- Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the raspberry layer evenly.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.