OK, friends, it's time to catch up a bit. My ability to keep up with my blogs is directly correlated with whether or not my toddler decides to nap. She is currently sleeping, so let's get back in the saddle, shall we? First, I want to talk about these yummy (easy!!) bars that I just made for the second time in a week. I have made other variations of this treat in the past, but these are my favorite version by far. They get big points for only dirtying one bowl, and for not requiring the use of a noisy mixer that has been known to wake sleeping children. If that wasn't enough, they can double as dessert and a breakfast-like bar, and can be customized to whatever flavor of jam you like best (or if you are like me--whatever flavor is hanging out in your pantry). The first time I made these, I used a new super fruit jam I found at Trader Joe's (which is now my 4 year old's favorite "purple jelly" ever), and this morning I used a seedless black raspberry jam from Smuckers. Next time I'll use MY personal favorite--apricot. Get out your bowl (and a bunch of butter), and make yourself some of these bars today. You probably already have everything you need in your pantry.
Oatmeal Jam Bars
-adapted from thepioneerwoman.com (Oh, how I love Ree)
- 1-3/4 stick cold, unsalted butter, Cut Into Pieces (yes, this is really 14 Tablespoons of butter. You will live)
- 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1-1/2 cup Oats--you can use quick or regular. I used regular because that's what I had (and I like a chewier bar).
- 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar--if you have dark brown sugar, use it. It was all I had and I think that's why I loved this version better than others I've made. The dark brown sugar adds such a delicious depth of flavor that just isn't possible with the light variety.
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 jar (10 To 12 Ounce) jam or preserves (not jelly) of your choice
Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (Do you have one? If you make pie crust you do) until it resembles coarse crumbs--OR, you can just use two butter knives to "cut" the butter into the flour. BUT--the fastest way is just to do what I did: wash your hands and then use them to squish the butter into the dry ingredients. It's kind of fun and will take you back to your sandbox days. Sprinkle half the mixture into a well-sprayed 9x13 pan and pat lightly to pack it a little tight. Spoon the jam evenly over the surface, then use a butter knife or spreader to carefully spread it around. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly again. Bake at 350 for 30 min or until lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan before cutting into bars of whatever size you can handle (they are rich). This morning, I got 24 bars out of one pan, and I placed each one in a decorative cupcake wrapper--it's a simple way to serve these gooey little treats.