Sweet, soft, wonderfully juicy raspberry crumble bars.
With a soft oat-brown-sugar-butter cookie-like base, and a thick, sweet, and tart but not overwhelming layer of raspberries in the middle, tucked in by a light dusting of those subtle streusel-like crumbs on top.
You’re gonna need to be making these.
I have strong opinions about fruit bars. I like them to be soft, not crunchy. I like them to be fruity, but not overloaded with fruit. I like them to taste kind of like cookies, but not a crunchy cookie and definitely not anything resembling the flavor of almond extract. I just… that’s not for me. I’ve eaten enough bars in church basements in my life to know what I like.
And what I like is THIS ONE.
The crust is soft and delicious and mostly made from our four usual suspects:
- brown sugar
And yes, you will want to eat it. I know you’re not supposed to eat raw flour and all that, but really? Not even a few little crumble chunks? I mean, good luck with that.
On to the raspberry filling. This is also eat-with-a-spoon-able delicious. I like this real raspberry filling better than a jam filling layer because the jam ones just get so sweet sometimes, know what I mean?
We’re talking about primarily:
- Lemon juice
There’s also a little flour and cornstarch ditty going on in there to help this not become a total puddle.
The goal here is that you will pull the bars out of the oven and see the jam filling looking like a barely-bubbling hot lava. That’s your ticket. That’s when you know it’s going to hold and you’re about to slice into some REAL NICE BARS.
When they cool, you have the big decision to make about whether to cut them in reasonably sized bars or extra large bars. I always vote extra large.
Okay, let’s brainstorm a list of reasons (excuses) to make these.
- You have friends coming over to watch the Bachelorette.
- You love raspberries.
- You had a bad day.
- You had a good day.
- Your neighbors are craving treats.
- You need to win someone over at work.
- You’re hosting a dinner party.
- It’s summer / Tuesday / rainy / sunny / YOUR LIFE.
- You love yourself.
Does that help?
These Raspberry Crumble Bars are THE BEST! So soft, buttery, and delicious. My favorite summer dessert.
- 2 12-ounce bags of frozen raspberries (see notes)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (more depending on tartness of your berries)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- juice of one lemon
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups brown sugar (loosely packed)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups melted butter (I prefer salted)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Prep Raspberries: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place raspberries in a large colander. Run warm water over them for a minute, and then let the liquid drain out for about an hour until softened and thoroughly drained (see notes). Mix raspberries with sugar, flour, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
- Soft Delicious Crust: Mix the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, and salt together into a crumble-like mixture. Press two thirds of the crumble into the bottom of a 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Bake: Arrange the raspberry layer on top of the baked bottom layer. Sprinkle with remaining crumble. Bake for another 25-30 minutes.
- Finish: Remove from oven. They will need a little time to set up into “bar” formation, so chill them for a few hours to get them really solid. Orrrr… cut into it right away and eat it like a soft fruit crisp! You should be able to remove them from the pan easily by pulling up on the edges of the parchment paper.
Thawing and draining the raspberries is important for getting the bars to firm up. When thawing the raspberries in the colander, you can gently squeeze them with your hands or press lightly with a spoon to get more liquid out. They will probably still be a little wet and mushy, which is fine. You just don’t want to have tons of excess water seeping out.
If you’d rather not mess with thawing, you can also use fresh raspberries! However, this is usually more expensive because it requires A LOT of fresh raspberries. And I found my fresh raspberry version to be very, very juicy. Like, kind of hard to eat.
I highly recommend the chill time! It helps them set up into bars that hold their shape really well. Also because I am weirdly obsessed with cold dessert bars and I think they taste so good.
Also, nothing against raspberries, but I’m inclined to believe that you could kinda put anything in between two layers of that crumbly cookie-like crust and be very happy with yourself.
I recommend using old fashioned rolled oats, not quick oats.