Apple Blackberry Crumble Bars

Good afternoon everyone!! I hope that your St. Patrick’s Day was filled with lots of green, clovers, and hopefully not too many green treats, because to be honest, those kind of scare me. Mine was pretty uneventful, but this coming weekend is going to be filled with lots of news. In the next few weeks, I’m going to be receiving all of my college notifications, which is a little bit stressful to say the least. But, the only thing that I can do at this point is wait, and to help you wait too, I made you something that isn’t green!

-4My last ever state gymnastics meet is this coming weekend. I’m still having a hard time thinking about that, but I knew that this day would come eventually. I’ve been at my gym for 7 years, and it’s sad to think that this is the last time that I’ll be able to wear my leotard and warmups. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to a sport that I’ve spent so much of my life participating in, but I’m hoping that wherever I go I will be able to compete on a club team or even train at a gym recreationally.

-1I always seem to end up with tons of apples at my house. I love to eat them as a healthy after school or gymnastics snack, but there are some weeks where there seems to be an endless supply of apples in our kitchen. I’ve made so many apple desserts that are just so similar, and I wanted something a little different. These crumb bars are a mixture of a buttery shortbread crust, cinnamony apples, and a slightly tart layer of all natural blackberry preserves. While you can use whatever you would like, I love the mixture between these 2 and would highly recommend it.

Apple Blackberry Crumble Bars- From Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:

  • 4 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and coarsely diced
  • 5 tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fruit jam (I used peach)

For the topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Directions:

  1. To prepare the filling, in a large skillet combine the apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until apples are tender but still firm.  In a small cup, whisk together cornstarch and lemon juice.  Add to the apple mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line an 8×8” baking dish with foil, leaving overhang on both sides for easy removal later.  Grease foil.
  3. To make the base, in a medium bowl combine flour, sugar and salt.  Mix well.  Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two forks or your hands, until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven.  Spread the fruit jam evenly on the base while it is still hot.  Top with the cooked apple mixture.
  4. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients for the topping.  Mix well until combined and crumbly.  Sprinkle over the apple layer.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Using the foil, lift out of pan.  Cut into squares and serve.  (If desired, refrigerate before cutting to firm up a bit for easier slicing.)

Enjoy!

-Rayna 🙂

 

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Cherry Almond Goat Cheese Bars

During quartet camp today, I realized that it was the middle of August, and I can’t figure out how my summer managed to go by so fast. Yesterday, I finished my first week of quartet camp, which was fantastic as always. I study chamber music with the program director during the year, so being able to buckle down and work on 2 full quartets in 2 weeks is very intense, but also really fun. The members of my quartet are some of my best friends, so rehearsing with them is really great.

DSC_0054Cheesecake is such a fun but temperamental thing for me to make. As you can see, the amount of cheesecake recipes here on the blog is rather limited, but that’s partially because I have a limited audience that will actually eat the cheesecake. My family tends to stay on the healthy side (surprising for an avid baker) so super rich and creamy desserts aren’t big sellers in my house. Not to mention, goat cheese is one of the few foods that almost no one in my family really likes, so I don’t think these bars ever got the attention that they truly deserve.

DSC_0077I loved these bars that I found on Sift and Whisk. The crust is not graham cracker based, but rather crushed almonds give it not only a wonderful crunch, but an amazing warm flavor too. The mixture of the goat cheese and the cream cheese ensures that the batter is not too dry, but it has a little bit of a tangy flavor because of the goat cheese, which I just loved. The fresh cherries not only mixed into the batter but sprinkled on top provide a sweet contrast to the sour edge of the cheesecake. All in all, I can’t rave about these bars enough.

Cherry Almond Goat Cheese Bars

Ingredients

For the almond crust:

  • 1 cup (140 grams) raw, whole almonds
  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces (226 grams) goat cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (150 grams) cherries
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop the almonds.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together chopped almonds, flour, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan. Bake crust for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
  3. Halve cherries and remove pits. In the bowl of a food processor, process goat cheese, cream cheese, eggs, and sugar. (If you do not have a food processor, you can use a hand or stand mixer. Beat the goat cheese and cream cheese together first, until smooth and creamy, then add the eggs and sugar.) Remove the food processor blade, then gently stir in most of the cherry halves by hand, reserving 18 cherry halves for the top. Pour filling onto cooled crust. Arrange remaining 18 cherry halves, cut side up, on top.
  4. Bake at 325°F for 35-40 minutes, until the center just barely jiggles, or a thermometer inserted in the middle of the pan reads 155-160°F. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours. Cut into 16 squares and serve.

Don’t be fooled by the goat cheese- these are some great cheesecake bars.

-Rayna 🙂