Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Trefoil Raspberry Streusel Bars

It's almost time for my favorite time of the school year!  Girl Scout cookie season!!  It comes at the perfect time, far enough away from January that you don't feel too guilty for giving into those adorable little faces in their sharp little uniforms that will greet you at the exit of every major store in your community starting on the 28th.  In effort to help kick off the season, Girl Scouts of Western Washington is again hosting an annual recipe contest, and I have been selected as a finalist!  Be sure to head to their website and vote for me!  Tell your friends!

While of course Girl Scout cookies are delicious in their own right, they also can be turned into gloriously decadent treats.  I always have a leftover box or two of most of the flavors in my freezer year round but I especially love to keep some Trefoils on hand because they make the most delicious cookie crumb crusts for any dessert.  A personal favorite of mine is raspberry streusel bars.  I just love the combination of the smooth butter cookie and the sharp bright raspberries combined with almonds and brown sugar...seriously drool-worthy!!

The best part of this recipe, besides the Girl Scout cookies of course, is the simplicity of it and how easy it is to have your own little scout help in making them!  My daughter is in 2nd grade and I think she would almost be capable of making these herself!  They are as much fun to put together as to eat and they are often a favorite of mine if I have some extra raspberries and berry jam sitting around.

Place one whole sleeve and a quarter of the second one in a small food processor.

Ground to a fine crumb.

Add in 4 Tbsp. of butter, a couple at a time and combine completely.

When done, the mixture will resemble wet sand.

Pour this mixture into a square baking dish

and press evenly out to the corners.

Make sure it is completely flat and bake bottom crust for 12-15 minutes or until slightly browned.

While the bottom is baking, put the rest of the cookies into the food processor and run with 2 Tbsp. of butter until it is the same consistency.

Combine the remaining cookie crumbs with the oats,

almonds and 

brown sugar in a mixing bowl.

Add in the last 2 Tbsp. of butter and mix in with a fork, leaving some larger chunks for the streusel topping.

Combine the raspberry jam and raspberries in a separate bowl.

When you remove the bottom crust from the oven, 

spread the raspberry mixture evenly over the whole crust.

Top with the streusel topping

being careful to also distribute this evenly.

Bake for an additional 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

Cut into 9-12 bars and enjoy!

Trefoil Raspberry Streusel Bars
makes 9-12 bars

1 box of Girl Scout Trefoils cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup sliced/chopped almonds
3/4-1 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Start by placing one and a quarter sleeves of the Trefoils cookies in a small food processor until ground to a fine crumb.  Add in 4 Tbsp. of the butter and mix until completely incorporated.  Pour the mixture out into a square baking pan and press until evenly spread over the bottom being sure to cover all the way to the corners of the pan.  Bake the bottom crust for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned.

While that is baking, place the remaining cookies into the small food processor and run until about the same consistency as before.  Pulse in 2 of the remaining Tbsp. of butter until mixed.  Place the cookie crumbs, the oats, brown sugar and almonds into a mixing bowl and stir until combined.  Add in the last two Tbsp. of butter and mix with a fork until combined, leaving some larger chunks for the streusel topping.  Combine the raspberry jam and raspberries in a separate bowl for the filling.

When the bottom crust is done baking, spread the raspberry filling in a nice even layer and then top with the streusel topping, being sure to spread it evenly and leave some chunks to help the topping stay.  Bake for an additional 18-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly then cut into 9-12 squares and enjoy.