By Chef Sara
Our Raspberry-Almond Crumb Bars are the stuff of dreams: a tender almond-scented shortbread crust topped with luscious raspberry jam, then a generous sprinkling of even more shortbread with oats and sliced almonds. Every bite is buttery and delicious, with the subtle hint of almond and vanilla cutting through the sweet jam filling.
These cookies are a natural fit for a holiday cookie exchange, and make a wonderful present all on their own. Enjoy them with a cup of your favorite tea or coffee to make a cozy, comforting moment out of even the most hectic day.
For a soy-free option, choose a soy-free vegan butter. If the butter you use is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the dough with the flour to balance the sweetness.
Raspberry-Almond Crumb Bars
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) vegan butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (10-ounce) jar raspberry jam or fruit spread
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper then cut off any long edges.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add in the two extracts, then mix again until combined. Add in the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together into a soft ball, scraping the sides as necessary.
Press approximately 2/3 of the dough into the prepared baking pan, making an even layer of shortbread. Spread evenly with the jam. Add the rolled oats and almonds to the remaining dough in the mixing bowl, and use your hands to mix together to make a crumbly oat- and almond-studded topping. Sprinkle over the jam, leaving some small spots for the jam to peek through for a pretty effect, and lightly press down into the jam. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbling.
Allow to cool completely in the pan. When cool, use the parchment to lift out of the pan, then cut into bars. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Store the bars in a covered container at room temperature for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months.