Whole-Grain Crumble Jam Bars
The pleasing tang of fruit preserves over a crumbly, pecan and brown sugar dough is a pretty scrumptious treat to have on hand any time of the year. It’s especially fitting during the holiday season. Indeed, Whole-Grain Crumble Jam Bars have been in rotation at our house for about a decade now. I was so smitten that I included a version in my first cookbook and brought samples to every event of my book tour. I’d sort of forgotten about the recipe, but pulled it out a few months ago, making one batch, then another, and remembering why I included it in the book in the first place. They’re a slam dunk. They’re also just the sort of festive treat to make all season long.
A Wholesome Recipe
These bars are as tasty as they are wholesome. The recipe is much like the original from Best Lunch Box Ever, only I’ve scaled back on sugar and swapped in olive oil for some of the butter. The recipe starts with a dough that’s made with whole-wheat pastry flour, oats, brown sugar, butter and olive oil. That gets divided, so some serves as the base of the bars and the rest gets crumbled on top. In between is a generous swipe of fruit preserves. I prefer a tangy jam here to balance the sweetness of the dough. Sour cherry, apricot, and raspberry are a few that I’ve tried with good results.
Great for the Holidays
One of the real upsides to these Whole-Grain Crumble Jam Bars is that they are quite sturdy. That’s why they’re just the thing to share at a cookie swap, bring to a holiday buffet, or ship to loved ones in faraway places.
If you are going to ship these bars, here are a few tips:
- Cool completely before wrapping.
- Wrap them first in parchment or foil and then in plastic.
- Use a padded envelope or box with plenty of newspaper tucked in so the bars don’t jostle around.
- Ship them within a day of baking to maximize freshness.
- Tell your lucky recipient they can be refrigerated or frozen to maximize shelf life.
How to Store Whole-Grain Crumble Jam Bars
If you think you’ll eat these within about five days, they will do fine in a covered container at room temperature. You can extend the shelf life a bit by stowing them in the fridge. They also happen to freeze quite well. Wrap in plastic followed by a freezer bag or covered container and enjoy within a month or so. Remove from their wrapping and defrost on the counter.
For Other Mailbox-Friendly Holiday Treats You Might Like:
Whole-Grain Crumble Jam Bars
Tangy jam serves as the filling for these terrific bars, built on a base of oats, pecans, and brown sugar. They are as tasty as they are wholesome. They also pack up like a dream, whether in a school lunch box or to ship off to friends in far away places. If you can’t find whole-wheat pastry flour, use white whole wheat flour or equal parts whole-wheat and all-purpose flour.
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1/2 cup raspberry, apricot, sour cherry, or other tangy jam
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so it drapes over 2 sides.
In a large bowl, add the whole-wheat pastry flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt, and stir with a fork. Add the butter and olive oil and stir together until one even consistency and no streaks of flour. Add the pecans and stir to incorporate.
With your hands, press two-thirds of the dough firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. (If the dough sticks to your hands, cover it with a piece of parchment paper as you work.)
With a spoon, spread the jam evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the remaining one-third of the dough evenly over the jam. You will see the jam peeking through.
Bake until the top is deep brown and the jam along the edges begins to darken, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool in baking pan for 30 minutes.
Run a knife along the two sides of the pan that don’t have an overhang of parchment. Grab the two ends of parchment and carefully lift the bars and set on a cutting board.
Cut into 16 bars. Store in the pantry for up to 5 days, in the fridge for up to 10 days, and in the freezer for up to 1 month.