Double Berry Crumble Squares

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27 Aug Double Berry Crumble Squares

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She doesn’t know it yet, but Julie Van Rosendaal is my new BFF. I loved her Grazing snacks, but the Double Berry Crumble Squares from her book, One Smart Cookie, sealed the deal. Delicious and with only 1/3 cup of butter for the whole pan? Julie, her recipes and I are going to be spending a lot of time together.

While sweets in general make me weak in the knees, cookies and squares are my Achilles tendon. I can’t resist them. Before deciding whether or not to provide a cookbook with precious shelf space, I often flip through the dessert section to see if the offerings catch my fancy. I can resist pies and custards, but write a whole book about these eat-with-your-hand treats? Well, you’ve got my attention. Deliver recipes that are flavourful AND lower in fat? I’m yours. Forever.

But Julie’s goodies aren’t “diet”. They won’t slim your hips, tone your thighs or flatten your abs. Eat too many and there will be more of you to love. But if you’re going to indulge (and who can honestly say they’ll never eat another cookie again, no matter what the scales say), these use a minimum of fat without sacrificing flavour.

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As if she didn’t have me at Butterscotch Crunch Cookies. No, Julie sweetened the deal by shunning artificial sweeteners, using real butter and foregoing the fat-reducing pureed vegetables that destroy the chewiness that sets cookies and squares apart from cakes, muffins and other quick breads. Don’t get me wrong. I like cake, but there’s something about the way these firm desserts press against my teeth that provides a satisfaction even creme brulee can’t match.

Despite the lower fat levels, these are real cookies, brownies and squares. The recipes call for wheat flour for its gluten, real chocolate chips (not the dreaded carob) and nuts. Sure, you can enjoy Green Tea Cookies and Breakfast Bean Cookies, but there’s also the as-much-fun-to-say-as-to-eat Snickerdoodles and a Jo Louis knock-off called Whoopie Pies. Can’t bear to part with grandma’s gingerbread? No problem. Julie offers tips on how to cut the fat in your tried and true recipes.

To keep it real, each recipe comes with a calorie count and nutritional breakdown. After tasting these smart cookies, you’ll never opt for dry, tasteless, pre-packaged diet versions again.

For my double berry mix, I used flash frozen raspberries and a wild blueberry spread, which is made with 80% less sugar than standard jam. While these are casual enough for snacking, a nice dish fancies them up enough to serve company. The cranberry-orange marmalade variation has me starting my Christmas baking list. But let’s not rush things too much.

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But in the meantime, these are a lovely indulgence with a cup of tea when the autumn nights turn cool.

What’s your end-of-summer treat?

Double Berry Crumble Squares

Excerpt printed with permission from Julie Van Rosendaal’s One Smart Cookie (Whitecap 2000).

Printable recipe

Makes 16

Base & Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 14 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter or non-hydrogenated margarine, melted

Filling

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries, raspberries, halved strawberries, blackberries or a combination
  • 1/2 cup raspberry or other berry jam
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt, breaking up the lumps of brown sugar. Add the melted butter and mix, blending with your fingertips if necessary until you have a crumbly mixture. Remove 1 cup and set aside.
  3. Press the remaining crumbs evenly into an 8- x 8-inch pan sprayed with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the berries, jam and flour. Spread evenly over the base. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top
  4. Bake for 30 – 35 minute, until bubbly around the edges. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Cranberry-Orange Crumble Squares

Use fresh or frozen cranberries and orange marmalade in place of the berries and jam.

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No Comments
  • Katerina
    Posted at 12:48h, 27 August Reply

    Great! Back in high school I used to work at a movie theatre that sold some baked goods and they had squares just like this… we used to cut off edges until they got smaller and smaller.

    I have never tried to make anything like it but these sounds good!

    My end of summer treat is almost always blackberry pie.

  • Dina
    Posted at 15:09h, 27 August Reply

    i love berries. those look delicious. wonder if you could try them with cherries?

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 15:14h, 27 August Reply

    Katerina, that's a great story. I can just see you slivering away at the goodies until you were serving squares smaller than a loonie.

    Dina, I think cherries would be great. If you do try this variation, let me know how it works out.

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 16:53h, 27 August Reply

    This is perfect. People can eat your berry squares for lunch, and my berry cake for dinner. Everyone's happy!

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 21:00h, 27 August Reply

    These look and sound fabulous, and what a great way to feel a bit better eating dessert since they are lowering in fat. I couldnt help but laugh at your thumbing through the dessert section of new cookbooks to determine their worthiness! :)

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 00:26h, 28 August Reply

    We are in love with that book in this house! I think the chocolate chip recipe is the best ever. Seriously, the best.
    And I am now making these tomorrow morning.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 00:26h, 28 August Reply

    We are in love with that book in this house! I think the chocolate chip recipe is the best ever. Seriously, the best.
    And I am now making these tomorrow morning.

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 11:28h, 28 August Reply

    ~Swoon~ Charmian, this looks amazing. Anything with blueberries is my go-to end-of-summer treat!

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 11:28h, 28 August Reply

    ~Swoon~ Charmian, this looks amazing. Anything with blueberries is my go-to end-of-summer treat!

  • One of the Woodside Joneses
    Posted at 17:08h, 28 August Reply

    I've just pulled my version of the oven. If it turns out (it -looks- great) I'll post which berries I used. ;-D

    I loved the simplicity of using the same 'stuff' for the bottom and the crumbly top.

    I will report tomorrow!

    Jill

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 17:12h, 28 August Reply

    These look scrumptious! You mentioned that the calorie count is listed with the recipes in the cookbook – could you please tell us how many calories are in these lovely bars? Thank you!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 17:50h, 28 August Reply

    Cheryl, I thought the same thing when I saw your post!

    Jennifer, the desserts section has sealed the deal on more than one cookbook.

    Cheryl A, good to know about the chocolate chip cookies. I'll have to try them.

    Diva, the blueberries are in full swing right now here. They're lovely this year, too.

    Jill, I await your report eagerly. And the ease of this recipe means I'm going to make it more often than a square with three distinct layers.

    Anonymous, if you cut the pan into 16 squares, each has 148 calories (26% from fat). Can you imagine the calorie count on the standard dessert? My guess is they'd have twice the fat and an extra 50 calories — which adds up if you gobble them like I did!!

  • Hillary
    Posted at 17:50h, 28 August Reply

    Very nice! I wrote a blog post awhile back on how to tell the difference between a cobbler, a crisp and a crumble. Hope this helps your readers! Great recipe!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 18:02h, 28 August Reply

    Hillary, thanks for the link. I read your post and found it really interesting.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 18:25h, 28 August Reply

    Okay, I did make them this morning. With blueberries and raspberry jam. Then I took them to a girlfriend and in a show of true generosity I left the pan at her house. Now I need more berries so I can make them again. Julie strikes again!

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 18:25h, 28 August Reply

    Okay, I did make them this morning. With blueberries and raspberry jam. Then I took them to a girlfriend and in a show of true generosity I left the pan at her house. Now I need more berries so I can make them again. Julie strikes again!

  • Sophie
    Posted at 04:12h, 29 August Reply

    MMMMMMMM,..these treats look delightful!!

    Yummie all the way,…

  • One of the Woodside Joneses
    Posted at 09:58h, 29 August Reply

    The results are in. Success!

    I used 1c fresh blueberries, 1c frozed sliced strawberries and seedless raspberry jam. The filling was perfect.

    I served it like a crisp (or a crumble?) with vanilla ice cream to make it dessert-ish. Big hit. One of my euchre opponents snuck to the kitchen to nibble at the pan, thereby distracting him from the cards, resulting in a euchre by the women's team. Woohoo!

    Jill

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 12:57h, 31 August Reply

    Cheryl, you left the pan? Full of squares? Man, you are a better friend than I am.

    Sophie, thanks for dropping by. And "Yummie all the way" is a perfect description.

    Jill, thanks for reporting back. Love that they were so distracting you managed to euchre your opponents. Now THAT will be my new the litmus test for all future culinary successes!!

  • CaSaundraLeigh
    Posted at 19:53h, 07 September Reply

    This looks stunning & delicious!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 14:04h, 12 September Reply

    CaSaundraLeigh, thanks. These are fast becoming my favourite dessert to bring to parties since they're easy to make, tasty and travel well. And when you say they're reduced fat? Boom! They're gone.

  • Barb
    Posted at 18:35h, 06 November Reply

    What an excellent review! I love Julie, too. I have a couple of her books and the sweet treats are great in that she reduces the fat and calories while keeping all the taste and yummieness and most of the recipes are for a small pan so you can’t be tempted to eat the whole 9×13 pan unless you have doubled the recipe!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:43h, 09 November Reply

      I hadn’t noticed the small pan portion-control feature, but now that you mention it… I love these squares and could eat the whole 8X8 pan myself. A 9X13 would do serious damage to my hips. :-)

  • paula
    Posted at 14:38h, 28 February Reply

    I had to use some more butter, cause the base became not moist enough… it just fell apart!

    Is it just me or did someone else of you had issues with that also??

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:07h, 28 February Reply

      I’m sorry your squares fell part. It’s so frustrating! While mine held together, I did press the crumb mixture into the pan REALLY HARD. I do this automatically for all layered squares since I’ve had the exact same thing happen to me with other recipes.

      Thanks for letting me know your issue. Hope this helps.

      Anyone else have issues?

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