February 01, 2011
Raspberry & Blueberry Crumb Bars and Hot Yoga
So I’ve started doing Bikram style hot yoga. Everyone I’d talked to who had done it said how great it was and how amazing they felt afterwards. They raved about it. They reported being able to sleep better afterwards. They called it refreshing and rejuvenating. It all sounded too good to be true, I had to try it for myself. Then I saw a deal to get 25 hot yoga classes for $35 and I took it as a sign to jump on board. The verdict? All those people lied to me. It does NOT make me feel better. After my first class I felt like I’d been turned inside out, beaten up and run over by a bus. I promptly returned home, showered and went to bed. This was at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Bikram yoga destroyed me. I was told it would get better. The second class was exactly the same. For those of you unfamiliar with Bikram style yoga, it takes places in a very hot studio, (around 105°F, but hotter when you cram that room full of sweaty wannabe yogis) and is a 90 minute session which consists of 26 postures, throughout which you’re encouraged NOT to drink water, NOT to wipe your sweat away and NOT to leave the room for any reason. They’re very particular.
It was after my third hot yoga class that I made these Raspberry & Blueberry Crumb Bars. All I wanted to do was go to bed but I had promised to bake something to bring into work the following day. Given my post-yoga state of confusion, it’s a wonder they turned out at all, especially as I had to make numerous substitutions to the original recipe. I had intended on going to pick up some groceries after yoga but I completely forgot in my quest to get home as quickly as possible so that I could collapse. That meant that when I started to try to put these bars together I realized I didn’t have enough butter or flour or lemons. Absurd! What kind of baker doesn’t have butter and flour? So I had to make changes like substituting cream cheese for part of the butter, ground oats for part of the flour and limes for lemons. I’ve given you the original recipe with my substitutions in italics. As for the yoga, I’m persevering and am determined to go to all 25 classes that I’ve paid for, even if it kills me. As incentive not to die, I’ve decided that I get a treat after every yoga class and these bars are perfect for that. Besides, they’ve got anti-oxidant rich berries and fibre from the oats. They’re practically health food. I’m sure Bikram would approve.
Raspberry Blueberry Crumb Bars, (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour (1 ½ c flour, 1 ½ cup ground oats to make 'flour')
1 cup cold butter (5 ounces butter + 3 ounces cream cheese)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon (zest of 1 lime + ¼ cup milk)
4 cups fresh raspberries (2 cups raspberries, 2 cups blueberries)
1/2 cup white sugar, (½ cup brown sugar)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
On a work surface or in a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan. I lined my pan with parchment paper. It makes it easier to remove the bars when they are done.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar, the cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the raspberries. Sprinkle the raspberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.