|If you made Any-Berry Jam, then you could make Any-Any-Berry-Jam Bars, which is a fun idea (on Mars).|
Also before I forget: my friend Debbie has started a new craft blog, Ink & Glue, and I am in love with it. It's just the kind of low-cost, high-gorgeous crafting I love. Her first post, on using the color registration boxes from packaging, is so brilliant. But there is lots more (all) to love over there.
Now: Any-Jam Bars! This is based on a Pioneer Woman recipe, but I use (wait for it) SPELT FLOUR! I also use (wait for it) A FOOD PROCESSOR! But you don't need to do either of these things. Dree Rummond (I am leaving that typo because it's funny, but correcting it here: Ree Drummond!) makes them with strawberry jam, but part of the reason I am making these, besides the obvious of (sigh) September lunch boxes, is that I have years and years of weird jams to use up.
If I had to pick a single photograph to illustrate the concept, "first world problem," this would be it. My jam pantry. And yet, it is my particular cross to bear, this having of so much jam, some of it unidentifiable, much of it from too many years ago, and most of it *grape.* Because the wild grapes! I pick them and pick them, how could you not? They intoxicate me! Their smell! Their color! The way they make everyone's lips itch. And also, the jam sets up so beautifully and is so. . . free! But, full disclosure, grape is not everyone's favorite jam around here. People like it fine, definitely, but if you're seeing an absence of peach in that pantry shot, if you're seeing an absence of apricot and plum, well, that's because those are the chosen flavors. (My mother is probably squinting at this photograph to see the word "Gooseberry" in her own handwriting. I love you, Mom!) Grape is a little more eh, a little more likely to have a piece of tape on it that says "2012."
So I'm making jam bars to use it up. And because they're delicious: buttery, brown-sugary, oaty, like the crumble part of a fruit crumble, with just enough sticky (grape) jam to fruit it up, to hold it together. Yum, yum, yum. These are best the first couple of days and, as the week wears on, they get a little less crisp. But then at least it's Thursday and there's a soggy jam bar in your lunch, instead of on Monday, when you really need a nice fresh one. Right?
Thank you for your kind word last. . . uh. . . the other week. The nights are getting cooler, the mushrooms are coming up everywhere, Birdy is adapting to middle school, and life is looking up. Plus, Michael put an abject little Dobby stamp on our taxes, which made me fall in love with him all over again. Which is different from a few months ago, when I raged around the house saying, "Really? You had to buy Harry Potter stamps? I have got to be the only person who has ever put a Voldemort stamp on a fucking *condolence* note." Sigh.
Any-Jam Oatmeal Bars
Makes around 24 bars
In Ree Drummond's original recipe, you mix these by hand, probably to keep the oats whole. Feel free to do that if you prefer, or if you don't have a food processor. Me? I'm lazy.
1 1/2 cups flour (I use half or more spelt)
1 1/2 cups oats (old-fashioned rolled or quick are both fine)
1 packed cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1 3/4 sticks salted butter (cold-ish) cut into pieces
One 8- to 12-ounce jar of any kind of jam or jelly (except Green Tomato Marmalade)
Heat the oven to 350 and butter and 9- by 13-inch pan.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, briefly whir together the dry ingredients just to mix. Add the butter and process until a clumpy dough starts to form.
Put half the dough in the pan and press it evenly to form the bottom crust. Spread the jam over this layer, then crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until nicely brown. Eat a couple "tasting" bites warm, but then cool completely before cutting into squares.