Monday, July 18, 2011

Raspberry Cornmeal Crumb Bars

When I flip through cookbooks and cooking magazines, within my mind comes often the question and sometimes troubling bewilderment as to why I am attracted to only certain recipes- why the chicken with feta and spinach versus the chicken with glaze and rice, for instance?? Does this happen to you too??? After much contemplation, the only conclusion I can draw is that it's no different than taste in clothing, decorating, and the like. Why is it, I pressed myself further, that in a petite little cooking magazine, the featured article presents four different dessert bars, namely, a seven-layer oozing with coconut and chocolate, a peanut and caramel one, a citrus bar, and then these- and out of the four, I am zapped instantaneously with interest for 25 % of the article?- discarding the other 75%- even though I've tasted all other three previously and have been head over heals for each? Clear as mud??

Even though I can tell you choosing recipes is a lot like choosing a new shirt or shoes, I still can't supply any viable clarification why some recipes make it into my kitchen and others never, ever will. Do you have a formula down pat for this sometimes irksome conflict? You can tell it's an issue here.

But..... all I know is that when the picture of these raspberry cornmeal bars exposed itself to my two set of eyes (one set in my face, the other set, in my stomach).... I just had to follow that inner culinary voice that tempted me to try them. They are good- worth the time and money-good, I mean. Very buttery, but not too heavy. The raspberries cook and mingle with each other, while the sugars within them release and create a thick, juicy, and syrupy like middle that is sandwiched happily between a cornmeal, buttery crumb. And the cornmeal, you can't taste, but can certainly notice a notable and positive difference in the texture- more oomph, more "crumble" and more lightness.

I had to wait quite a few hours however, until they had really cooled down before I was smitten on them. Round two I tried them warmed up ever so slightly with a slobbering dollop of vanilla bean ice cream soddened into it. That, was pristine and pure deliciousness.

Raspberry Cornmeal Crumb Bars

{Martha Stewart, Everyday Living, May 2011}

3/4 cup natural almonds

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

10 ounces frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square (Kate note: I used a 9 inch and it worked great) baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two sides. In a food processor, pulse almonds until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup). In a large bowl, whisk together ground almonds, cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and stir until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Press about two-thirds the dough into dish. Scatter raspberries over top and crumble remaining dough over raspberries. Bake until top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in dish on a wire rack before cutting into 9 bars.

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