My grandma loves to tell stories. She likes the spotlight, she likes making friends and family (and herself) laugh, and she likes to remember. I think her favorite stories are about the life she shared with my grandpa - the family they raised, the love they found and fostered and shared, and the times they made each other laugh/go crazy/fall even more in love. I love those stories, too.
If she’s not telling a story about her and grandpa, then she’s most likely telling one about her grandkids. That’s my brother, my three cousins on my dad’s side of the family, and me. And if she’s not telling a story about one of those four grandkids, she’s telling one about me. In this category, there are only a handful from which she’ll choose: the time I threw up on her when she picked me up out of my carseat first thing when I arrived in Florida to visit her (I was three years old and had just scarfed down McDonald’s chicken nuggets), the many times I would scurry out of her swimming pool just as Mom brought out the loaded plate of snacks (you could get me to do anything if sausage, cheese, and crackers were involved), orrrrr the time I tugged on her pant leg on Christmas Day in Wisconsin and ask “sh-sh-sh-shhh-shhhhould we go pick some w-w-waspbewwies?”
My goodness, I loved picking raspberries from the bushes in her backyard. And almost as much as I loved the sausage, cheese, and cracker snack plates, I loved the raspberry jam. Slathered on a toasted English muffin with butter, drizzled over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and even just on a spoon - that raspberry jam (a few jars of which still live in her freezer!) is the best jam I’ll ever eat. Nothing will compare.
That raspberry jam is actually the reason I consider raspberries one of my favorite fruits, and the reason I get all warm and fuzzy at just the sight of raspberries - it’s my favorite example of comfort food :)
Mom and I started making our own a few summers ago, which was both exciting and disappointing. Exciting because I love making foods at home - seeing the whole process of preparation behind foods I love and sharing that experience with loved ones, but disappointing because I guess I thought and wanted this recipe to be some super tip-top secret long-lived family recipe - turns out it was just on the back of the pectin box. Interesting.
Plenty of sweet, red raspberry jam has really helped in moving past that disappointment. Everything’s pretty much fine now, except that I don’t live at home anymore and the jam-making is a special thing Mom and I do, so I haven’t made any.
But MY GOODNESS have I craved it, especially since I almost snuck a jar from her freezer into my suitcase when I flew out to visit her and grandpa. I didn’t - I figured TSA might think it an unsuitable addition to the flight, and I didn’t really want to risk a broken jar of raspberry jam all over my stuff. That meant something needed to happen at home. Something red and sweet and fragrant and reminiscent of childhood memories with grandma. Something delicious enough to drink straight from the jar (not saying I’ve done that… but also not saying I haven’t).
Here’s what I came up with. Red - check. Sweet - check. Nostalgic - like you wouldn’t believe. Delicious - enough to eat the entire pan without sharing. Or maybe delicious enough that you’ll need to share. Everyone’s different. Do with them what you will, but just make them.
Makes 12 bars
For the crust:
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp. filtered water
For the raspberry filling:
12 oz raspberries, plus a handful of extra raspberries for topping
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp. flaxseed meal
For the crumble topping:
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
Preheat the oven 350F and lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish with coconut oil.
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, almond meal, and flaxseed meal. Add the sea salt, coconut oil, agave nectar, and filtered water. Mix well until a firm dough forms. Transfer this to the greased baking dish and press into an even layer. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Set aside to cool completely.
While the crust bakes, prepare the raspberry jam. In a small saucepan, combine the 12 oz. fresh raspberries, lemon juice, and coconut sugar over medium heat. Stir occasionally for 4-5 minutes, lightly mashing the raspberries. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for another 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in the flaxseed meal. Leave this to thicken for 5 minutes.
Prepare the crumble topping by stirring together the almond meal, coconut sugar, and sea salt. Slowly add the coconut oil, mixing to combine with each addition.
Pour the raspberry jam over the cooled crust, then sprinkle the crumble over the top. Leave a few open spaces to expose a little jam here and there - it’s pretty! Bake for 20-22 minutes and then let it cool completely - 2-3 hours at least - before icing the bars.
To make the icing, simple whisk together the sugar and almond milk until smooth. If you prefer a thicker drizzle, add more sugar tablespoon by tablespoon until you reach the desired consistency. Once the bars have cooled, drizzle the icing over the top and cut into 12 even squares.
Serve and enjoy! Store leftovers in the fridge for up to two weeks.