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imageSummer fruits are fresh and luscious. I love fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and peaches. So here is a bar recipe that puts a bit of fresh fruit to a good purpose. If you don’t have your own fresh fruit, it will be plentiful at your grocery store or farmers market. Use any fresh fruit that you can  match with jam from the same fruit. Fresh raspberries – raspberry jam, etc. I have actually tried mixing jams and fruits but the resulting color isn’t always too attractive. Be sure to use fruit that has not been frozen or your bottom crust will be too moist and fall apart when you cut it. Yes, I learn from my mistakes! Tart cherries would be great if you can find tart cherry jam, but you may have to increase the sugar a bit. I have used this recipe for Blueberry Bars and Raspberry Bars and both were delicious. These bars melt in your mouth and are so filled with fruit flavor you may be like me, and not be able to stop at just one. The crispy bottom crust is buttery and not too sweet. This bar is good from the bottom crust to the top crumble!
Preheat oven to 350˚, Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan
imageFruit Filling
1 1/4 cup fresh fruit
1 cup jam of the same type of fruit
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Gently mix the above ingredients. You want most of the fresh fruit to stay intact, so don’t over mix. Set aside.
Crust
2 sticks of unsalted butter. Separate 2 tbsp from this amount to a small
dish to use later. The butter should be cool, but not hard.
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 2/3 cup granulated sugar
Crumb Topping
reserved crust mix and reserved butter
image1/4 cup brown or raw sugar
1/4 up old-fashioned, rolled oats
optional – 1/3 cup chopped, unsalted nuts
Cut the larger portion of butter into small chunks. With a pastry tool or stand mixer incorporate the butter into the flour, salt, and sugar until the mixture resembles beach sand. Measure 1 1/3 cup of the crust mixture to a medium-size bowl and set aside. Firmly pat the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. Do not build up the sides. Press the crust firmly to flatten and smooth. You want the base of your bars to be solid. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the edges just begin to turn a bit golden. Remove the pan and immediately spread the prepared fruit mixture evenly onto the hot crust. In the medium-size bowl with the imageseparated crust mixture, add 1/4 cup brown or raw sugar. Add 1/4 cup old-fashioned, rolled oats plus the optional nuts if you are using them. Stir to mix. Add the reserved two tablespoons of butter that you have cut into small pieces and work with fork or a pastry tool to incorporate. Crumble the topping mixture evenly onto the filling. Do not press or pat. Bake for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the edges and cover them with foil if they begin to brown excessively. Cool the bars completely before you cut them. These bars freeze really well.

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