Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Any-Jam Oatmeal Bars

If you made Any-Berry Jam, then you could make Any-Any-Berry-Jam Bars, which is a fun idea (on Mars). 
Before I forget: I've moved over a few requested recipes, from back in the day: Michael's Pesto, Homemade Burger Buns, and the semi-tutorial on how to teach your kid to make salad. Thank you so much for asking. Please keep your requests coming, and please forgive me if you asked for something and I forgot to post it. My intention is to post everything.

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.


  1. LOLOLOL. Voldemort and Dobby. Jam bars are good, too. My kids think strawberry jam on their sandwiches is child abuse, evidently. Jam bars, here we come.

  2. Yay! Our excess jam comes in the form of green grapes, which I didn't strain the seeds out of so that the jam looks exactly like boogers. I keep telling the kids how good it tastes but they can't get past the visual. Will it look better in bars? I am off the post office now to buy Harry Potter stamps.

  3. We had the Harry Potter stamps too. I struggled with when to use Voldemort, but think he ended up (appropriately) on a bill.

  4. Thank you for this. Our Santa Rosa plum tree was SO prolific this year, so we'll need to use some up. (My jam shelf looks like yours, even though I did go through & throw out the oldest ones this year so I could reuse the jars for all those plums.) Our free fruit is blackberries--they're EVERYWHERE, so we have a lot of that too. There should be an interstate jam swap, so people could unload the excess free-fruit jam on somebody who would appreciate it.

  5. Voldemort on the condolence note made my day :)

  6. I was so hoping you'd say something magical like how the bars are actually very healthy, because I have made these bars using the PW recipe, and they are so so so addictive, I could eat the whole pan at once. Oh, and yes--we had the Harry Potter stamps too. Sigh.

  7. I confess that I laughed out loud at (except Green Tomato Marmalade). Did you try it?

  8. oh you made me laugh and jiggle the baby! now don't you want to try to make peanut butter and grape jelly jam bars?

  9. Hi Catherine -- I left a comment this morning however it seems to have vanished into the ether. The gist of it was how much I love this idea. I've been making berry crumble bars all summer, but now berry season is over. You've reminded me that there are jars of homemade ollieberry jam in the cupboard ("Too many seeds," they whined).

    And I nearly made it through one of your blog posts without spitting my tea across the table from laughing so hard. The Dobby/Voldemort stamps were very funny, but at the thought of an unsuspecting person biting into "green tomato marmalade crumble bars." That was it. (It reminds me of France, and the time I bit into a lovely croissant... filled with fish. I was expecting bits of fruit or chocolate. Not nice.)

    Thanks, as always, for the recipe and... entertainment over breakfast.

  10. Oh my gosh, thank you for the ink and glue shout-out! Your compliments mean a lot to me. Mutual appreciation society! xoxo

  11. oooh these look delish! About how much butter is a "stick" in real numbers? ;)

    1. 1/2 a cup, which is 8 Tablespoons, or 1/4 a pound, which is 4 ounces, which is 113 grams. (4 individually-wrapped sticks per pound, usually)

  12. Alison8:48 AM

    You are so Funny! Brightened my day :-)

  13. I love you. I do. Thank you for always making me smile and cry and pause.

  14. Oh! A use for the last jar of Beet Marmalade (I kid you not--Joan Nathan recipe). Thanks for the excellent recipe and day-brightening humor.

  15. Am I the only one here that doesn't know what spelt flour is?

  16. Caroline10:45 AM

    These were delicious! I was worried the dough wasn't sticking together enough, but they held together beautifully. My only left-over home-made jam is jalapeno, so I used boughten jam (as Almonzo would say).

  17. Smooches12:49 PM

    I have these baking in the oven. The food processor made these SO easy! Even though I have a teeny food processor and had to split the dough into two batches...which was actually easier for this type of recipe. Anyway, any chance of getting the Warm and Smoky Potato salad recipe? I keep wanting to recommend it to friends, but it's not available anywhere online. Thanks!

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  19. Francine9:29 AM

    I think I am the laziest: I will make that recipe again, but using my hands so I don't have to take the robot out of the cupboard and wash it :-)
    Thanks for another hit recipe. I used one of our numerous jelly jars, too. It was loved by grandmother, parents and "kids" as well. "Mmm, c'est vrrraiment bon", said and repeated everyone. Served it as a dessert with plain yogourt. Delicious. xox

  20. Francine9:38 AM

    Oh, and the picture in the painting! Thanks for the good laugh also.

  21. Ok - so reading this I'm thinking - seriously, this woman is my twin because I have jars and jars of free grapes made into jam because hello, free grapes. And jars and jars of other jam because even tho' I make jam we aren't really jam people. But oat bars with spelt and any jam is right up our alley. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  22. These are amazing!! Soooooo good! Thank you!! I made with "homemade" (but not by me) seedless blackberry jam bought from a family in the North Carolina mountains. (the jam is amazing itself too)

  23. Same thing happens over here. So many jams, so many picky jam-eaters. p.s. I just learned this recipe works with Bisquick too, which I never buy but somehow always have.

  24. Possible stupid question alert: Can you freeze these? Or is there another way to make them have a longer shelf life (assuming my 3 year old and 1 year old do not destroy a pan!)? Thanks!