Vegan raspberry crumble bars

I don't think of myself as a particularly wise person. In general, I have more questions than I have answers, which I think is a perfectly acceptable way to live. (How boring would life be if we had all the answers already?) However, there are two things I'm totally sure about. First, life is all about collecting opportunities -- trying new things, taking risks, learning from each other, and making mistakes. Second, almost any dish can be enhanced by a sprinkling of buttery crumbs on top. Life is just sweeter with crumbs.

Love & Lemons' raspberry crumble bars are no exception. Coconut oil, walnuts, and sugar make rich, soft-yet-crunchy clusters that cover a gooey, glossy raspberry layer.

You will need:

  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil, hardened in the fridge
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup raspberry jam (preferably juice-sweetened)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a small baking dish with parchment paper or spray it with non-stick spray.
  2. Use a food processor to blend the coconut oil, flour, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand. (Add a tiny bit of water if you need to make it hold together better.)
  3. Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the bottom crust for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are just barely golden brown. (It took longer for me than the original recipe said.) Remove from the pan and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Once the bottom crust has cooled, spread the raspberry jam on top.
  5. Add a little water to the remaining crumb mix until it holds well enough to form clusters. Sprinkle the crumb clusters on top of the jam and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the top crumbs are golden brown. Remove from oven.
  6. Allow the pan to cool most of the way on the counter, and then put the pan in the fridge to cool completely. These bars are much easier to slice and remove from the pan when they're chilled!

Between the walnuts and the coconut oil, these bars are certainly not low-fat. However, they do have the potential to be fairly healthy, depending on what type of flour and sugar you use. In fact, I think that next time I make them, I might cut down on the sugar, as they were pretty darn sweet!