The other day I caught a quick whiff of lilacs which is usually my cue that spring is truly here. Lacey's been taking advantage of the warmer days by sunning herself the deck in the afternoons. Most of our seeds have germinated so we've got a cute little group of seedlings next to our kitchen window. We can run out for groceries without bundling up first. Everything just feels a little easier in warmer, sunnier weather.
The last couple of days though? Rain, snow, and then some more rain. Sure, the snow-covered Monday morning looked really pretty and felt extra cozy at first but by that afternoon I was longing for some sun. I've wanted to get outside and make a couple of new photography backgrounds but the weather just hasn't cooperated these last few days. I guess that's Spring for you.
Thankfully you don't need to wait for a sunny day to enjoy these Raspberry Crumble Bars. They're sure to brighten up a drizzly spring day! The bars are made up of three layers: a granola crumb-style crust, a sweet-tart raspberry chia seed filling, and a thick granola crumble topped with pumpkin seeds and coconut. The sweetened raspberry filling is studded with chunky bits of fresh raspberries for some tart-sweet flavour and juicy texture. Serve these bars with vegan ice cream or whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate for a decadent dessert that's sure to impress!
These bars are best made the night before you intend to serve them. After an evening cured in an air-tight container the sweet crust becomes soft and cookie-like and the crumble loses its crispness. The raspberry filling is delicious all on its own and would be perfect on oatmeal, pancakes, toast, ice cream, and smoothie bowls.
For reference, I used Nature's Path Hemp Plus Granola in this recipe. Nature's Path is my go-to granola/cereal brand and I've got tons of their granola in my pantry. I've tried a variation of this recipe using their Chia Plus Coconut Granola and their Flax Plus Pumpkin Granola and they both work perfectly - any of their boxed granolas will be really good choices. You're welcome to try making these bars with any granola you happen to have on hand but a lighter granola containing rice crisps will be closest to what I used.
A sweet vegan dessert bar made with a raspberry chia seed filling, a granola crumb crust, and a thick crumble topping. Serve with vegan ice cream and chocolate for a decadent dessert.
Raspberry Chia Filling
- 2 ½ cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 ½ cups granola (I used Nature's Path Hemp Plus)
- ¼ cup coconut oil, soft (at room temperature)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- ¾ cup granola
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, soft (at room temperature)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (optional)
- 1 tbsp shaved coconut (optional)
Raspberry Chia Filling
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 ½ cups frozen raspberries, ⅓ cup sugar, and 1 tsp lemon juice over medium heat. Stir often. Once the raspberries have released their juices stir in 2 tbsp of chia seeds - be sure to break up any chia seed lumps. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened and the berries have broken down. Add ½ cup of fresh or frozen berries and continue cooking until berries are heated through (break them up slightly if desired.) Remove from heat and set aside.
- Pulse 1 ½ cups of granola in a food processor until the texture is rough but fairly even (no large chunks.)
- In a medium-sized bowl, cream together ⅓ cup sugar and ¼ cup coconut oil. Beat in 2 tbsp of water. Add the processed granola, ⅔ cup flour, and a pinch of salt. Mix well. The mixture should be moist but not wet and hold together easily when pinched. Adjust the texture using a touch of flour or water if necessary. Set aside.
- Pulse ¾ cup granola in a food processor until the texture has evened out slightly (no large chunks of granola.)
- Cream together ¼ cup sugar and 3 tbsp coconut oil. Beat in 1 tbsp water. Add processed granola, ⅓ cup flour, and a pinch of salt. Mix up the crumble topping with your hands (try to encourage a chunky uneven texture.) Stir in the pumpkin seeds and coconut (if using.)
Assembling the Bars
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a 8x8 pan with parchment paper. Press the crust mixture firmly into the pan.
- Top the crust with an even layer of the raspberry chia filling.
- Top the crust with a thick layer of crumble.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the crumble is barely golden brown. Cool and slice into 12 bars.
Raspberry Chia Seed Filling: It can be a little tough to decide when the raspberry mixture has thickened up enough to transfer on top of the crust. Chill a spoon by running it under COLD water. Dip it into the raspberry mixture. Once cooled, the consistency should be thick and jam-like (not runny) but not so firm that it's hard to get off of the spoon.You can use this method throughout the cooking process to check the fillings progress.Storing: These bars are best served after 12-24 hours in an air-tight container or bag. These bars freeze very well.