Yesterday, I woke up and was another year older. My grandmother, may she rest in peace, always said we should celebrate our birthday because if we don’t, it means that we aren’t here anymore. I like to subscribe to that philosophy. Birthdays should be celebrated.
I woke up to my husband serenading me with Happy Birthday and I arrived at work to my office which was decorated with gold streamers, paper tulips, clusters of paper flower bouquets, and a Happy Birthday banner. It is nice to be loved.
Every Thursday my team gets together for “Kabbalat Shabbat”. It is not really Kabbalat Shabbat, because that is really the welcoming of the Sabbath which is done on Friday before the sundown. However, it is a tradition at most offices in Israel to do on Thursday and bring snacks, sweets and some wine. It was my turn to bring something, and so it was an easy way to celebrate my birthday with my colleagues.
I was looking for something different and most importantly something that didn’t take a lot of time. So, I found something really interesting on Smitten Kitchen‘s blog, Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars. Her pictures are so beautiful; just the picture enticed me to make them. And, she had me at “Raspberry”. The title of these bars are misleading because they are not crumb bars at all. I think they are more like soft, squidgy granola bars. Simply said, they are delicious and most importantly all about the raspberry. We don’t have much of a raspberry season here in Israel, so I used frozen berries. I think you could make this recipe with blackberries, blueberries, black or red currants or sour cherries. Next time, and believe me there will be a next time, I am going to make them with mixed berries.
My beloved husband made me a nice dinner, beginning with a delicious shaken, not stirred Apple Martini. He made:
Crushed Basil Potatoes
He served it with a nice Shiraz Rose and we had fresh guavas for dessert. It was a lovely dinner.
Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking from the Baked Bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats (like you use for porridge)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
170g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
500g (1lb) raspberries, fresh or 600g frozen
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 31x 21 cm (9-by-13-inch) glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to hang over the short sides of the pan to allow easy removal of the bars.
Place the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until a loose crumbs forms.
Reserve 1-1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Place the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumb mixture evenly in the pan with the back of a large wooden spoon. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool. Keep the oven on while you prepare the raspberry filling.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and toss gently with your hands until the raspberries are evenly coated.
Gently place the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes 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 store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.