Recipe: Strawberry Crumb Bars

In case you were looking for a reason to pick-your-own strawberries…

Whether you’re a child or an adult, there’s nothing better than strawberry picking on Long Island. I wait all year to pick these sweet and tart berries by the flat-full, and pray that most of them end up in the freezer (instead of our mouths) so they can be enjoyed throughout the year. Whereas store-bought strawberries are usually picked far before they are ripe and are white and hollow in the middle, ripe strawberries picked from the vine are red throughout, firm, and super sweet.

While looking at my dwindling supply of frozen berries and anxiously awaiting strawberry season to arrive, my mind suddenly became consumed with crumb cake. Perhaps it’s because it’s been years since I’ve had it, but I knew I had to combine strawberries and crumb cake, specifically the crumb topping (which in my mind is the only real reason to eat the crumb cake to begin with). These crumb bars are similar to a crumb cake, but they have a sweet layer of strawberries in the middle.

I have made these bars with maple syrup, but prefer the honey as stated in the recipe because it holds the crumb layer together a bit better. It’s also a bonus that local honey can help with pesky seasonal allergies! Feel free to taste as you are making each layer and try the amount of honey that is listed, and then add more if your taste buds desire.

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Ingredients:

Strawberry Layer:

  • 6 cups chopped Strawberries
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tsp. Lemon

Crumb Layer:

  • 3/4 cup Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 cup Almond Flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Salted Butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1+ Tbsp. Honey
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Bottom Layer:

  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp. Rice Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 Egg, whisked
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice

Instructions:

In a medium sauce pan or pot over medium heat, add the strawberries, honey and lemon juice. Stir occasionally and allow the mixture to come to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low or medium-low so the mixture is bubbling. Stir every few minutes and allow the mixture to bubble away. It will take at least 40 minutes for the sauce to reduce. The strawberries should be thick and chunky, but still somewhat pourable.

While the strawberries are bubbling and reducing, make the crumb layer. Add the oats to a food processor and process until they become a coarse yet uniform meal (mine took about 15-20 seconds to get to this consistency). Add the almond flour, sugar, honey, and vanilla extract and pulse until everything is well combined. Drop in the chunks of butter and pulse 5 or 6 times until the butter is combined and the mixture and butter have a crumbly consistency. Gently remove the crumb mixture from the food processor and set aside.

To make the crust, process the oats the same way you did for the crumb layer. Add the almond flour, 1/2 of the rice flour, sugar, baking soda and honey to the processor and mix until everything is well combined. Add the whisked egg and lemon juice and mix again until everything is blended. Add the butter in and mix until well combined. Slowly add the remaining rice flour until everything is well combined, and the end result should be a loose dough.

Press the dough into a parchment covered 8 or 9 inch square pan and use a spatula or knife to ensure the dough is flat and even. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until it’s just firm. Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Spoon the strawberry layer over the crust and smooth out, then sprinkle the crumb layer over the strawberries. Bake the crumb bars for an additional 20 minutes, or until the crumb topping starts to brown just slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before cutting into bars. After cooling, you may wish to refrigerate prior to cutting into squares to ensure they stay together.

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Priscilla Chamessian is a Long Island native and personal chef who focuses on using local and seasonal ingredients. She loves cooking healthy and delicious food, being behind the camera, and drinking strong espresso. See what she's up to at www.priscillacooks.com.