I’ve never been a huge fan of the summer months. Even as a kid, summer wasn’t my favorite time of year. All the other kids would be relishing summer months off from school. But, I couldn’t wait for summer to end, so that I could head back to school during what was my favorite season… fall.
But there was one thing that summer brought that no other season could: the peach! There’s nothing like the taste of a fresh juicy sweet peach. I’ve made the mistake of purchasing peaches before the official season started and also after it has ended. There’s nothing worse than biting into a peach that is completely lacking in flavor and sweetness. Those peaches sitting on store shelves at the beginning of the season aren’t at their peak ripeness. They’re being trucked into stores from great distances, with the hope that by the time they make it to your local supermarket they might have ripened. But sadly, that usually is not the case. So, I would definitely recommend purchasing them in the summer months, when they’re most readily available. If you’re lucky, you have access to a local farmers market or have the opportunity to visit a local orchard. Those peaches are usually picked and sold at their peak freshness.
You can also buy them frozen. Purchasing frozen peaches can be a lifesaver for use in numerous dessert recipes when seasonal ones are no longer available.
Ginger Peach Cobbler
I've talked about peaches in several of my blogs before, and I've featured recipes for both sweet and savory dishes. Peaches are very versatile, so I’ve used them in recipes such as peach gazpacho, peach pound cake, peach tart, grilled peaches, several types of peach salsas, peach cobblers, pickled peaches and even in several cocktail forms, such as a peach Caipirinha. The list goes on and on.
Just recently I was looking for a simple recipe where I could use the fresh peaches that I had recently bought from our local farmers market. I bought both yellow and white peaches, and they ended up working out perfectly in this recipe. I was thinking something in dessert bar form, and then I happened upon this recipe for Fresh Peach Crumb Bars. This recipe that I slightly adapted has a crust that is so buttery tasting, topped with a layer of fresh diced peaches, brightened by a touch of fresh lemon juice with a hint of cinnamon. It’s then finished off with drizzles of icing made with confectioners’ sugar and almond and vanilla extract.
One of my favorite things about this recipe was how easy it was to cut the finished product into bar form. My tip is to make sure that you allow the bars to cool completely to room temperature first, then place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours for them to firm up before cutting into bars.
For the crust, you can mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, blending in the butter by using a pastry cutter, or you can do everything in a food processor. I’ve made this recipe twice now and both times have been successful using the food process method. This time when making the bars, I decided to add a tablespoon of peach preserves that I had on hand to enhance the peach flavor and create a slight jammy like texture. The recipe definitely doesn’t require it; it was just something that I wanted to try. I think that with a few adjustments, you can adapt this recipe for use with other fruits of the season, such as apples, apricots, cherries and even some berries.
These bars are now one of my new favorite recipes using fresh peaches. I’ll see how they go over with friends this weekend. I’m invited to a birthday party and I’m in charge of the desserts. I thought I would take the bars along with a Lemon, Almond, Olive Oil Cake that the birthday girl requested.
Fresh Peach Crumb Bars
Fresh Peach Crumb Bars
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes, if using a metal pan and 55 minutes, if using a glass pan
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes, if using a metal pan and 1 hour 20 minutes, if using a glass pan
For the crust:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the peach layer:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 large peaches, or eight small ones peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of peach preserves or jam, (optional)
For the icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk (more or less for desired consistency)
- Preheat oven to 350℉ if using a glass pan, or 375℉ for a metal pan. Lightly grease or spray a 13x9-inch baking pan and set aside.
For the crust:
1. Process the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cold butter cubes and process until the mixture resembles coarse sand, should take about 15 seconds. Add the lightly beaten egg and pulse until the dough starts to come together, should be about 10 pulses.
Optional alternative method: In a medium bowl whisk together 1 cup of sugar, 3 cups flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Using a pastry cutter, blend in the cold butter cubes until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the lightly beaten egg and mix until the dough starts to come together, but is still crumbly.
3. Take a little more than half of the dough and gently press it into the prepared pan. You can also take a half size measuring cup to lightly press the dough into the pan as well. I started by using my hands first and then switched over to the measuring cup to evenly press out the dough. The rest of the dough you’ll use to top the peach mixture.
For the peach mixture:
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Add the diced and peeled peaches and toss to combine. Drizzle the lemon juice over the peaches and toss to coat. Next add the optional tablespoon of peach preserves, gently toss to combine. Pour the peach mixture over the crust and spread evenly.
2. Using your hands, press together handfuls of the remaining crumb topping to create clumps. Scatter the clumps and remaining crumbled topping over the peaches, leaving some peaches showing through.
3. If using a metal pan, bake at 375℉ degrees for 40-45 minutes, until lightly browned. If using a glass pan, bake at 350℉ degrees for 50-55 minutes.
4. Cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator before icing and cutting into bars.
To prepare the icing:
1. Whisk together the sifted powdered sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract and milk. Drizzle on the bars.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also wrap the bars tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them. Defrost at room temperature whenever you want to eat them. They will lose a bit of their texture by freezing, but it’s a great way to hold on to leftover bars.
We have lots of upcoming classes at The Chopping Block featuring peaches. Be sure to check out:
- Virtual Sparkling Cocktails on Saturday, June 26 at 5pm CST featuring Peaches and Berries Sparkling Cocktail.
- Cupcake Boot Camp on Sunday, July 18 at 10am at Lincoln Square featuring Peachy Prosecco Cupcakes with Sparkling Peach Buttercream
- Vegan BBQ on the Grill Demo on Sunday, July 18 at 11am at Lincoln Square featuring BBQ Baked Peach-Blackberry Cobbler