There is something unmistakably magical about the smell of a berry crumble fresh out of the oven. The marriage of berries, butter, and brown sugar is simply unmatched! Growing up, I could always depend on my Mimi pulling a berry or peach (depending on the season) crumble out of the oven at family gatherings. Aside from the wonderful aroma, I have the distinct memory of burning my tongue one too many times in my eagerness to dig in while it was still hot out of the oven.
So many years later, I would still choose that crumbly, buttery topping and tart medley of berries over any other dessert (well, unless a Mrs. Fields frosted chocolate chip cookie was up for grabs). And this past couple of days, I’ve sought the warm comfort of fresh-baked treats galore, so I decided I might as well attempt to recreate a time-honored family dish.
These mixed berry crumble bars are an ode to a childhood favorite, but with a healthy twist that pairs well with coffee for a morning treat! Free of refined sugar and not overly sweet, these crumble bars hit all the right notes without sacrificing the buttery goodness crumbled on top.
For the Crumble:
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 cups blackberries
- 1 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch (+1 tsp if needed)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the oat flour, oats, coconut sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda until well combined.
- Melt the butter in the microwave (30-45 seconds) and pour it into the dry ingredients along with the vanilla.
- Switching to a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry until a uniform dough begins to form. The dough should be able to stick together and hold its shape at this stage.
- Taking 2/3 of the dough, press the dough into the bottom of the baking dish, using your palms to press it towards the edges of the dish in an even layer. Store the remaining 1/3 of the dough in the fridge for the time being.
- Moving on to the filling, combine the berries, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch in a small saucepan and place it on the stove over medium heat.
- Mix the ingredients together and continue to stir occasionally, letting the mixture come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat slightly to medium-low and allow the compote to simmer and thicken for an additional 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the mixture should coat the back of a spoon and you should be able to leave a clean line by running your finger down the middle of the spoon. If not, you can add an additional teaspoon of cornstarch at this stage.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove and pour the filling over the dough in the base of the baking dish. Use a spoon or spatula to spread out the filling in an even layer.
- Taking the remaining dough from the fridge, start to crumble it over the top of the filling. If you are having trouble forming crumbled with the dough, you can pop it back in the fridge for another 10 minutes.
- Next, place the crumble in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, the topping should be lightly golden brown and the fruit layer should be bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow the crumble to cool for at least 45 minutes before cutting it into 16 bars. *tip: Place the dish in the fridge to help the crumble fully cool and set first.
Eat these bars for breakfast, dessert or any meal in between! Thank you for reading, and get cooking!