I know I've said it before but I love peach desserts and treats. I also love anything with a graham cracker crust or a crumb topping of some kind. There is just something about the oh so naughty butter, sugar, flour combination that gets me every time. When Holly over at phemomenon.blogspot.com posted this recipe, peaches were right in season and thanks to my in-laws peach tree I had an abudance of them in my home. I was so excited to try this recipe for two reasons. 1.- It had my favorite crumb and peach elements and 2.- Holly NEVER disapoints! =)
These were fantastic. Sadly I didn't get a picture of them because I had made them to take away on a family vacation with us. Last month we were lucky enough to spend a blissful week up in Park City at the Westgate resort with my Dad, his wife and the extended family. The Westgate Resort is one of my favorite places on earth and when I am there, I am in heaven. We ate, we swam, we shopped, we played, we visited and I enjoyed LONG LONG LONG european steam showers (twice a day). MMMMMMMMMM. Needless to say whilst there I wasn't so concerned with taking a picture of what I was eating as I was just getting down to business and eating it. So I pinched this picture from Holly's fabulous and famous food blog. Go check it out!!
This recipe was my first introduction to the cinnamon, vanilla, peach combination. All I can say is it is a match truly made in heaven!
Peach Cinnamon Vanilla Crumb Bars
For the peach vanilla cinnamon filling:6 cups peeled, chopped fresh peaches (about 7 peaches)
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
For the crust and crumbs:4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons or 1 1/4 cups) cold, unsalted butter cut into chunks
1 large egg
Make the peach filling first: In a large pan, stir together the chopped peaches, sugar, the vanilla bean seeds and the split bean pod, and the cinnamon. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer about 30 minutes until the juices have mostly thickened. You can stop at this point with a little juice, or if you like a thicker filling, stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 2 minutes more until the peach filling is thick. Remove the filling from the heat and allow to cool to about room temperature.
(Note: This peach filling is also wonderful in crepes or on pancakes or waffles.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking pan and line it with a piece of parchment so that the parchment makes a sling in the pan with the edges hanging up and out the long sides of the pan. Crease the parchment into the bottom corner of the pan to help keep it in place. Spray the parchment lightly to make sure everything is well greased. Set the pan aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment stir together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. On low speed, add the butter chunks and beat until the mixture is very crumbly and the butter is cut in. You can do all this by hand if you prefer using your fingertips or a pastry blender to run the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly with the largest chunks about pea-sized. Add the egg on low speed (or use a fork) until the mixture is crumbly and combined and when squeezed just holds together.
Press about half of the dough mixture into the bottom of the greased pan evenly and pressing into the corners and edges (do not go up the sides of the pan).
Spread the mostly cooled peach filling evenly over the crust in the pan. Squeeze the remaining crumbs in the bowl lightly to just make bigger crumbs and chunks and scatter that crust over the peach filling.
Bake the bars for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is light golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan. Use the parchment sling to remove the entire bar from the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or rectangles (makes about 24 to 30 bars depending on how big or small you cut them).