I come from a family that likes to be creative in the kitchen. I enjoy dreaming up new recipes, as well as putting a spin on old favorites.
I created this recipe when we had a jar of jam in the refrigerator that was not well-liked due to its thin consistency. The jam was good enough for baking, however, so I used it as the star ingredient in this easy-to-make dessert. I like cookie bars because they are usually far less time-consuming to make than drop or cut-out cookies. If I need cookies in a hurry, I can whip up a batch and have them all done in an hour or so (plus, one actually has time to do something else while the cookies are baking due to the longer cooking time!).
These jam and oatmeal cookie bars are lovely with a cup of tea or coffee in the middle of the afternoon. They are also great for potluck dinners or picnics where one might need a dessert that will please all ages.
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Approximately 24 2" x 2" bars
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For the cookie layer:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups jam or preserves, berry or cherry types work best
For the topping:
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish or pan and set aside.
- Start with the cookie layer. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown and white sugars until smooth. Beat the egg and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the salt and baking soda into the mixture next, then stir in the flour a few tablespoons at a time until it is thoroughly combined with the other ingredients.
- Press the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish or pan. Make sure the dough covers the bottom of the dish evenly.
- Spread the jam over the top of the cookie dough. Stop just shy of the edges to keep the jam from cooking onto the sides of the dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, and salt, making sure to break up any lumps in the brown sugar. Pour the melted butter into the oat mixture and stir until the oat mixture is all moistened by the butter. Add the flour a little at a time to the bowl, working it into the oat mixture with your hands.
- Sprinkle the topping over the jam bars in the baking dish. Place the dish in the oven on the center rack and cook for 30 to 35 minutes*, or until the edges are golden brown and the jam is bubbling. Cool completely in the dish before cutting. *Note: If you are using a metal pan, check the bars at 25 minutes, since baked goods tend to cook faster in metal pans than in glassware.
Variations and Tips
- Want the taste of an apple crumble without having to peel apples? Simply use apple jelly in this recipe and add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg to the topping.
- Nuts can easily be added to the topping for those who like nuts in their desserts. Chop 1/4 cup of pecans, walnuts or almonds into small pieces and add them to the oat mixture before sprinkling it over the jam bars (increase butter by 1/2 tablespoon and the flour by 1 tablespoon if adding nuts).
- Serve these cookie bars with vanilla ice cream for an easy summer cookout treat.