raspberry granola bars | a way to their heart

From our Creative Director Katherine

Every Valentine's Day my mother would cut out our toast in the shape of a heart and smear it with butter and strawberry jelly.  I do the same for my boys now, but they don't like jelly on toast. (Weird, I know.)  Melty butter just does not quite do it.  So, this year I thought I'd try something a little different.  I will *hide* the jelly beneath a layer of buttery, oaty, nutty goodness.  I heart fooling my boys into eating more adventurously.  I heart my boys.  I heart brown sugar and oats mixed up together.  

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup raspberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Spread the chopped pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the rolled oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and pecans. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter until the oat mixture is thoroughly combined.
Press two-thirds of the oat mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared baking pan and top with the raspberry preserves. Sprinkle the preserves with the remaining oat mixture.
Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the granola bars cool completely, about 3 hours. Cut into squares (or hearts!) and serve.