Berry Crumb Bars

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Vegan berry crumble bars

I’m one of those people whose favorite dessert varies by season. In the fall I’m all over caramel apple pie and pumpkin desserts, in the winter I tend to indulge in all-things-chocolate (brownies, cookies, cake, etc.), but come late spring and summer, I want all the berries.

My favorite way to eat berries is in their raw form, usually over a heavy scoop of coconut whipped cream and maybe with a bit of orange zest on top, but when I’m gathering with friends I like to come armed with approachable desserts in bar form. Considering Flag Day (do people celebrate flag day?) and the Fourth of July are just around the corner, I figured these berry crumb bars would make an excellent addition to any picnic or patriotic celebration. But if you’re going for more of a red and blue theme, I’d replace the raspberries with strawberries or cherries because the former are a bit on the magenta side.

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If you can’t get your hands on fresh berries, frozen berries would work just as well but you’ll want to increase the starch to 1 tablespoon. If you’re not a fan of berries (surprisingly, those people exist – more berries for us!) chopped peaches, apricots, or any other stone fruit would make a great substitute. I used spelt flour to make these a bit on the more nutritious side, but all purpose flour would work just the same (as would whole wheat flour).

Berry Crumb Bars

Makes 16 squares

Crumb base

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 pint raspberries
  • 1/2 pint blueberries

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8-9″ square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars, flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or two knives) cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the non-dairy milk and mix with your fingers, just until combined. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan then set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar and starch; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, toss the berries with the lemon juice, then with the starch mixture. Spread mixture evenly over the prepared crumb base and press the berries to flatten the raspberries a bit. Top with the remaining 1/3 of crumbs then bake at 350˚F for 38-40 minutes. Allow bars to cool in pan on a wire rack for at least two hours. Serve immediately or keep loosely covered at room temperature. Crumb bars will keep for up to three days, but are best within the first 24 hours.

Photo credit: Ashlae Warner

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