Saturday, June 28, 2014

Raspberry Crumble Bars

Well, well, well, it looks like I'M BACK! After five years of homework, studying, projects, essays, labs, quizzes, midterms and finals, I am officially a graduate of the University of Washington with a double degree in Biochemistry & Chemistry and a minor in Diversity. It has been a long road full of triumphs and failures, but I did it! Now the question is, what's next?

When I started my journey at UW-Seattle, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I jumped from different ideas, from pharmacy, to business, to just wanting to drop out and go to culinary school. People always say, "Do what you love", even my friends say that. But growing up, when you have to work for everything you've ever owned, where nothing is handed on a silver platter, where every time that tuition statement comes out, you hate to tell your parents about how much tuition was raised, doing what you love didn't really seem like an option. If I wanted to live out my dream whether that be a bakery, cafe or some show on the Food Network or Cooking Channel, I needed a backup plan and that was my two degrees.

After all is said and done, I still don't know what I want to do with my life. What I do know is that I'm going to take a year off of school, apply to pharmacy schools in the fall and look for jobs in the meantime. If I find a job god enough, maybe pharmacy school isn't necessary. But, that's what this next year is all about, figuring out my next step in life.

Until then, there is one last thing to do before I figure out my life, and that is my joint graduation and 23rd birthday party! Can I just say, I haven't had a party like this since grade school so this is kind of a big deal. This past week, I've been testing out recipes on what desserts I need to make and this was one recipe I tried out. These raspberry crumble bars were fantastic. My only criticism would be to bake the bottom layer for about 20 min or until lightly golden brown before adding the raspberry preserves. I found the bottom layer to be a bit soft and failed to hold together if that's not done. Other than that, this may be an option for the party!

Raspberry Crumble Bars
Recipe by Anne Thornton

2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Raspberry Preserves, recipe follows

Raspberry Preserves
1 quart raspberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 3/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

Add the flour, both sugars, oats and salt to a bowl in your stand mixer. Add in the butter and egg and beat at low speed. Stop the machine and scrape the bowl down a couple of times. Keep processing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Keep 2 cups crumb mixture aside.

Press the remaining crumb mixture on the bottom the prepared pan. Spread the Raspberry Preserves over top, leaving 1/2-inch border. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the preserves.

Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Raspberry Preserves:
Put your raspberries and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it's at a simmer, partially cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Pass the berry mixture through a food mill and measure the liquid that remains. You need 3 1/2 cups. Add more water if there isn't enough.

Put the berry liquid into a new saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer again. Once it simmers, start adding your sugar in 1/2 cup increments. Give it a stir to incorporate and bring it back to a simmer before adding of the next 1/2 cup sugar. Once the last 1/2 cup is added, bring the liquid to 216 to 218 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Stir constantly. Let this cool to room temperature prior to using. If not using right away, refrigerate for up to 1 week

-Aaron John


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