Friday, April 22, 2011
Marionberry Streusel Bars
When we were at the ocean recently, we stopped by this great little restaurant that is there, 42nd Street Café. I don’t know how such a small town can have several nice restaurants, but it does! We’d been there before and the food was just as great this time. They serve bread with Marionberry conserve before your meal that is excellent! A conserve is a whole fruit jam that may also include dried fruit or nuts. This conserve has walnuts and orange peel. We picked up a jar of the conserve and I couldn’t wait to use it in some cookies.
I knew that I wanted to highlight the Marionberry conserve, so I wanted a fairly simple recipe. I went out on the web and searched for bar cookies with preserves and I found loads of recipes. This recipe was the closest to what I was envisioning, a simple base, the conserve/preserves, and then a streusel layer. I had hoped to find a recipe with nuts in the streusel, but no luck there. I swapped out some of the flour in the base and the streusel with some chopped walnuts, to highlight that aspect of the conserve. Of course, if you can’t get Marionberry conserve, just use your favorite type of preserves.
The base for these is quick, but a little tricky to press in the pan because it seemed to want to stick to my hands more than anything. I wet my hands a bit and that seemed to help. The conserve smelled divine when I heated it up to thin it. Yum! This makes a floury streusel rather than a chunky streusel, but that makes for a nice light topping. These cut beautifully and they are so tasty. Buttery, but the Marionberry conserve adds just a bit of tang to it, so it’s a nice combination of buttery, sweet, and slightly tangy. These are fantastic!
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
10 ounce jar Marionberry conserve
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” x 13” baking pan.
In large mixer bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the walnuts and flour. Stir until combined. Press the dough into the prepared pan.
Heat the Marionberry conserve until melted. Spread over the base to within ½-inch of edges.
Combine the walnuts, flour, and sugar in a small bowl. Add the butter and using a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the conserve.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Sweet Kat’s Kitchen