Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not a big fan of fruit for dessert. My exception to that rule is if it’s served with ice-cream. Ice-cream makes almost any ho-hum dessert magnificent and I think that any dessert that does not involve chocolate, peanut butter or caramel is a bit ho-hum.
I found myself with a ginormous amount of berries in the fridge after my Instacart shopper gave me two huge containers of strawberries in place of the one container of raspberries I had ordered from Costco.
Let’s pause a second here. First of all, I would like to say that strawberries are not a substitute for raspberries. If you really want raspberries, strawberries just don’t cut it. I could see substituting blackberries. Or marionberries. How about non-organic raspberries even. But strawberries? Not close! Also, I find it hard for me to believe they were totally out of raspberries. Which leads me to my second point.
Second of all, I’m positive these Instacart drivers only do a cursory glance for some of the items in your cart. I know from my own experience of traversing the aisles at Costco (up and down and back again) looking for one specific item that Costco isn’t always easy or intuitive to locate items. I just know the one time when they were “out” of macarons that they actually were not out. I’m convinced the guy just didn’t bother looking around for them and since they were on sale they were probably on some end aisle of the refrigerated area and he just didn’t even know where to look. (A week later my Instacart driver was able to find them just fine.)
So now I have about 4 pounds of strawberries in the fridge and I make the brainiac decision to buy some raspberries and blueberries from Whole Foods. My justification was that I wanted a variety of berries for morning oatmeal during the week. And, also, strawberries just aren’t my favorite berry. I have fond memories of strawberry malts made by my grandma and of course I like to eat raw strawberries but with 4 pounds to split between two people, strawberry malts and strawberries over oatmeal only takes you so far. Plus Sis poo poo’d my idea for strawberry shortcake.
At any rate, the week started and Sis and I were not eating oatmeal. Thus we were not eating berries. So I started tooling around for a recipe that used a fair amount of berries and came across one at Celebrating Sweets that seemed to fit the bill. It used a combination of berries and I knew I had all the ingredients.
For this recipe I decided to go gluten-free. I am not gluten intolerant or anything like that but I do happen to have a variety of flours on my shelf. I have a neighbor who doesn’t tolerate gluten well and I planned on giving her and her family some of these bars. I don’t have any gluten-free 1:1 baking mixes on hand so I turned to a very simple recipe I’ve used before that uses a ratio of sorghum flour, potato starch and tapioca flour. I had all three on my “flour shelf” (yes, I actually have an entire shelf dedicated to flour), so it worked out well. I do think a 1:1 gluten-free flour would work fine in this recipe.
It would be interesting to do a side-by-side comparison of these bars made with an all-purpose flour version. I really think that if I didn’t tell you these are gluten-free you would have no clue.
My berries were slightly tart so these bars turned out slightly tart. While the bars are great on their own, they are down-right addicting when you top them with some vanilla ice cream. Heat them up a bit first so that the ice cream starts to melt a bit on the warm crumble topping.
If you don’t need to eliminate gluten, feel free to make these with all-purpose flour.
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 3 c. gluten-free flour mix (mine uses potato starch, sorghum flour and tapioca flour)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
- 1 c. cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract (optional)
berry filling ingredients.
- 5 c. fresh berries (I used chopped strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
- ½ c. granulated sugar
- 4 tsp. cornstarch
- juice of 1 small lemon
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9×13 pan with foil or parchment, and butter or spray with non-stick spray. (I skipped greasing the parchment paper. I was still easily able to peel the paper away from the bars.
- Stir the filling ingredients together in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot. Over medium-low heat, bring to a bowl and allow the sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally. This will take about 5 or 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine granulated sugar, baking powder, flour, and salt. Stir to incorporate. Add lemon zest, butter, egg, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until the butter is evenly distributed in small pieces and the mixture is crumbly.
- Place a little more than half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Use your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup to evenly press the dough into the pan.
- Spread the warm berry filling over the crust, then crumble the remaining dough over the top of the berries. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the crumble top is light golden brown. (My oven doesn’t really brown unless I use a really high heat.)
- Transfer pan to rack to cool, before cutting into squares. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
- Eat at room temperature or warmed with some ice cream on top. Divine!