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 egg
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.


K and S said...

whoa I didn't realize hot yoga was so intense! hope these bars cheered you up :)

Charlatan said...

I am so with you on Hot Yoga. I love yoga. Love it. But hot yoga just kicks my butt every time. I come out, wrung out and annoyed.

Love the blog!

RecipeGirl said...

ha ha, I'd come home and bake too! These look delicious. I don't know anything about the hot yoga, but maybe it's something you have to experience several times to appreciate? I don't know... good luck!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

I think the bars are healthier than the hot yoga. That just sounds sadistic.

The Food Librarian said...

This cracked me up! I've never tried yoga at all...and the heated one scares me. Good luck with the rest of the classes...if you go back! But who can resist these bars...Yum!

Heather said...

I had many friends who loved Bikram Yoga and I thought they were nuts. I'm pretty sure I would pass out, as I don't deal very well with heat--much less extreme heat while exercising. Yuck. It makes me dizzy just to think about it.

Good luck to you! I hope you get your money's worth!

The bars, of course, look outstanding.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Charlatan...but I do have to say, even if it doesn't get "better", it does get easier!

This yoga mat http://www.silversport.com/2010/12/hot-fitness-silvermat/ is awesome, btw, it's the first one I've had that doesn't get all funky after hot yoga.

Anonymous said...

It's all about substitutions - I love experimenting like that!

And yes, what's up with bikram yoga?! I'd never heard of it before and then I've heard it mentioned literally about six times in the last two weeks. Where did it suddenly come from? Kudos to you for giving it a go - I live and work in a place that is rarely below 30°C and the idea of voluntarily going somewhere hotter for any period of time smacks deeply of clinical insanity. Good luck!

The kitchen worker said...

Love Bikram too! The husband and I were regulars at the studio back in sweltering Singapore. Keep positive and keep at it, never mind what people tell you :)

That said, I never knew hot yoga could inspire such lovely crumb bars. Namaste! :P

jess☆ said...

Ohhh these looks sooo beautiful! Much more rejuvenating than Bikram yoga!! Although, if the class inspired these, maybe you should keep at it - imagine what else you may come up with!