The sun is shining, the grass is green and to be honest, I feel more alive right now than I have in a long time! After several weeks of rain, the sun is finally back out and it is officially time to celebrate the beginning of summer! Every year summer kicks off in my mind on Memorial Day Weekend. To me, it’s the first time all year that I engage in my favorite summer activities (think swimming, grilling, eating ice cream etc!)
Last year during Memorial Day, my family spent the weekend celebrating my brother’s wedding in Laguna Beach. My brother's wedding was literally a Pinterest dream wedding and to this day, I have no idea how I am going to top it!
This year I am spending Memorial Day a little bit differently… with absolutely no plans. Sure, the weekend will definitely end up being busier than anticipated, but my goal is to spend time with my boyfriend, cook, read outside, exercise, go to church and spend plenty of time on my rooftop. In addition, I am hoping to have some friends over to do some entertaining! There is nothing better in my mind than cooking for the masses (especially for my food deprived friends who would do anything for a home cooked meal!)
This week I came up with an ingenious recipe for Raspberry Crumble Bars. Sure similar recipes exist all over the internet, but this one is special thanks to my new favorite product: Stonewall Kitchen’s Sugar-Free Spread. This is in no way a sponsored post (though that would be nice…) I just happen to really love this product and want to share it with you!
Unlike the aspartame, sucralose, cancer-causing sugar-free jams that have invaded my local grocery store, this preservative-free fruit spread is sweetened with two things: fresh fruit and stevia. Though, you can make this type of product at home, as a busy twenty-something, I find it easier just to buy it! I ordered a few jars on Vitacost and I’m sure glad I did. Not only does this jam taste great plain, it’s incredible to bake with! (Exhibit A: Raspberry Oat Bars!)
What’s awesome about this recipe is the bars taste extremely decadent, yet compared to their 350 calorie counterpart, they are relatively low in calories (120 per bar to be exact!) No need to thank me, just do me a favor and MAKE these, share them with your friends and most importantly ENJOY them! Because let’s be real, life is too short not to eat dessert :)
Raspberry Crumble Bars
Makes 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
1/2 stick or 1/4 cup of butter (Earth Balance butter also works great!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar-free jam (aim to use a jam that is sweetened with stevia - here's why)
1/4 cup of old fashioned oats
1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Place the butter in a small microwavable bowl and microwave until melted (30-40 seconds should do it.) Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and vanilla to the bowl and mix well.
3.) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the butter mixture to the dry mixture as well as 1/4 cup of cold water. Mix the batter until cookie-like dough forms. If the dough is too crumbly to form into a ball, add another tablespoon of water.
4.) Once the dough is the perfect consistency, roll the dough into a giant ball, leaving a tablespoon or two of dough to crumble on top. Place the dough ball into a lightly greased 8x8 square baking pan. Using a spatula, spread the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the raspberry jam over the dough leaving a little bit of room at the sides.
5.) In a bowl, crumble the remaining dough with your fingers and blend the oats into the dough mix. Place the crumble on top of the layer of jam.
6.) Bake the bars for 40-45 minutes or until lightly browned.
*Allow the bars to cool completely and cut into 12 servings. Store in a cool, dry place or refrigerate.
Nutrition Facts (per one serving)
120 calories, 4g fat, 22g carbs, 2g fiber, 8g sugar, 2g protein.