Steel Cut Berry Crisp

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If you are the type of person who chooses to make a crisp over a pie for dessert, chances are you resonate with one or more of the following statements:

1. I need a warm dessert that takes less than 10 minutes to make. 2. Crunchy and gooey is a favorable texture combination for me. 3. I'm trying to cut fat and calories by avoiding pie crust. 4. I would rather spend the fat and calories on ice cream for a la mode.

Here's my recipe for an easy and healthy crisp. The steel cut oats add crunch and extra fiber. Feel free to substitute frozen peaches or tart cherries for the berries. You may also want to add chopped walnuts or pecans to your version...I don't because the man of the house loathes them.

4 cups or so frozen mixed berries 1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon almond extract 2 cups uncooked oats 1 cup uncooked steel cut oats 2 tablespoons oat bran (optional) 2 tablespoons flax meal (optional) 1/2 cup crushed store-bought cereal (corn flakes, Honey Bunches of Oats, Trader Joe's "Clusters" all work well) 1 cup brown sugar 1 stick melted butter (I use less...see #4 above.)

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, toss frozen berries with extract, flour, and sugar until evenly coated. Dump all in a 8x8 baking dish. Set aside. In another bowl, mix melted butter with brown sugar. Add oats, bran, flax, and cereal, and mix until crumbly. Dump onto berries. Spread out evenly. Bake until berry juices are bubbling, about 40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if you are a #4 kind of gal as well, and curl up with a steaming cup of tea and good thoughts to chew on.