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Raspberry Ginger Oat Crumble Hearts (Bars)

  Valentine's Day for us is like a little bit of leftover Christmas in February, but with paper hearts and chocolate.  When we were all younger and people weren't in college, our parents would get up early and adorn our plates with candy and little gifts.  I love chocolate, sweethearts, and the like, but what was so beautifully special were the cards that my papa still makes us every year.

  Usually it's a sheet of paper folded in half, adorned with some crazy awesome red-penned illustrations that only my father could think up.  Then inside there's a special message, from him and mom, telling each sister how special and loved she is.  We'd eat candy, fry some eggs and bacon, snarf down on some disgustingly sugary cereal, and tell each other, each in our own way, "I love you."

  It's a simple tradition.  There are no roses, diamonds, or boredom from being left behind as the parents go out for some crazy expensive dinner.  Nope.  They go out and buy a little something for each individual girl, it's something different every year, and we always end up loving them--because they know us that well.  My good relationship with my parents is something I'm ever thankful for, and they are the supreme example of what a mother and father should be.

  These little crumbly hearts are simple.  But each bite has a tang of ginger, sweetness from jam, and a lovely chewiness from oats that have lightly toasted in the oven. They're beautiful in their own sort of way, without being in your face.  Wholesome, that's the word.  That's what Valentine's Day should be.

  Make Tuesday pretty and wholesome, share the love!

Raspberry Ginger Oat Crumble Hearts
Yield: 10-14 hearts, plus scraps

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 10 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup raspberry jam (A 9.5 oz. jar is the perfect amount.  A good quality, not too sugary brand is preferable.  Use seedless if desired.) 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor, then add the butter and pulse until a dough starts to form. Blend in the buttermilk. (You can also do this with an electric mixer, pastry cutter, or a couple of forks and some endurance.) Transfer the dough-bits to a bowl and knead in the oats until well combined.

Put 3/4 cup dough off to the side (this will be used as the crumble).  Press the rest of the dough evenly into the pan. Spread the jam evenly over the top (if the jam is quite chilled and seems possibly tough to spread, heat it slightly in the microwave before applying).  Crumble the reserved dough evenly over the top.

Bake in the center of the oven until golden, 20-25 minutes.  Let cool completely on a cooling rack.  When cool, lift it out onto a cutting board and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes (alternatively, just cut into bars).  And eat those scraps.

Sources: adapted from 17 and Baking, who adapted it from Gourmet