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Bumbleberry Bars

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I was pretty sure I knew what bumbleberry meant when I proclaimed these soft fruit bars Bumbleberry Bars, but then after some brief discussion, I looked it up. Sure enough, bumbleberry isn’t a type of berry (duh!), but a mix of berries.

That’s what I was going for.

And that’s exactly what happened here. I got up early this morning to bake this before it got too warm out. I wanted to capture the fresh, tart-sweet berry-ness and share it with you before it felt like a chore, knowing that even the simplest recipe (like this one) can become onerous and painful when it’s too hot or too rushed to bake. Luckily, the morning stayed cool and these luscious bars were in and out of the oven before I knew it. That’s what summer cooking is to me: effortless recipes that satisfy and nourish you enough for all your adventures.

I’m so inspired lately by the many recipe blogs that I read. Some for their amazing photos, others for exquisite writing, some for both. I read a fairly wide variety of cooking blogs, from the amateur to fully professional, indulgently themed to whole food pioneers, vegetarian and vegan to meat-aholic. My friend Tom just started a new blog called It Goes Crunch which I am really enjoying. Tom’s not new to the blogosphere, but this time around he is blogging for a great reason: his health. In response to some burgeoning health concerns, he’s found his silver lining and is now sharing healthful recipes, particularly ones geared for low fat and low cholesterol lifestyles. He’s sharing some attractive recipes, thoughtful infographics and helpful nutritional reminders, one in particular that I like that begins with “love yourself a little more …”, couldn’t we all stand to follow that advice? Check out his blog when you get a chance and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers, or even more deliciously, stop and pick some berries. Enjoy!

Bumbleberry Bars

preheat your oven to 375º and grease a 9×13″ baking dish liberally

Soft and bursting with summer berries, these bars are quick to make and won’t last long!

1 C ground almonds/almond meal

2½ C rolled oats, divided

1½ C coconut sugar, divided (go ahead and use brown sugar if that’s what you  have)

¾ C margarine

1 tsp almond extract

1 egg

¼ C cornstarch

3 C mixed berries such as raspberries, hulled strawberries, blueberries or black berries

zest of ½ a lemon

Before you begin, set aside ½ a cup of the oats in a small bowl and ½ a cup of the sugar in another small bowl. Add the cornstarch to the ½ cup of sugar. Set aside.

To make the base pulse together the oats, sugar, almond meal, almond extract, margarine and the egg. 4 or 5 pulses should bring it together to make a soft dough. Spread this dough into the bottom of a pre-buttered 9×13″ baking dish with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Set aside.

Sprinkle the berries over the base and sprinkle the cornstarch and sugar mix over the fruit. Top with the remaining ½ cup of rolled oats.

Bake at 375º for 40-45 minutes or until the fruit is juicy and bursting on top. Allow to cool completely. These will cut best if slightly chilled at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

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