Jam Bar Cookie
The bar cookie is a thing of beauty. It brings with it the promise of plenty, the memory of picnics and luncheons and family gatherings where people talked long and laughingly and dessert was a reward worth saving room for. With all the press about farm-to-table and eating in season, it’s nice to remember that the humble bar cookie was a showcase for that long before it was en vogue, featuring whatever came from the garden or farmstand–fresh first, and then “put by.”
Every two weeks, I get to test all sorts of bar cookie recipes, serving them to my guests at the Pig & Weasel, our living-room house-concert series and arts incubator. Last night, this recipe was the winner. The buttery crust works well pressed in to tart pans for a fancy scalloped edge, or, just pressed into typical 9 x 13 casserole dishes, or–doubled for a crowd–into half-sheet pans. For the filling, I have used jams I made myself from fresh apricots, figs and berries, but in a pinch you can use store-bought fruit spreads. (I like Trader Joe’s organic fruit spreads made with fruit & grape-juice concentrate.)
I found this fantastic crust recipe in a 50th anniversary community cookbook put out by the Womens Advisory Committee of the Sears Roebuck YMCA of Chicago in 1952. I like it with my homemade fig filling, or this apricot filling. And for more bar cookie bliss? Try one of my other favorites, such as these coffee-and-molasses dream bars
I’ve got another easy dessert recipe that I think all dessert lovers should try at least once. Bar cookie bliss anyone? I like my jam bar cookies with apricot fillings. You can also try them with fig fillings or anything else that you think would go well with them
Bar-cookie crust Ingredients:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant/quick cooking)
Ingredients for apricot filling:
6 ounces dried apricots
6 Tbsp strawberry fruit spread or preserves
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup water
How to make it:
Whip butter and sugar till they get fluffy in a stand mixer that has a paddle attachment.
Sift together all the remaining ingredients mentioned in the section for bar-cookie crust. Add it to the butter.
Pour 2/3rd of the mixture into a panor a tart pan that is sprayed with non-stick coating.
Press into bottom. If you are using standard 13 x 9 inch pan, press about 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. Reserve the remaining crust to use as the topping. Keep aside.
For those who are using a tart pan, press up the sides.
For the filling, heat apricots and raisins in water.
Continue till the fruits have absorbed most of the water inside. They should look plumpy.
Blend it in a food processor to turn it into a paste.
Add preservatives and blend till its consistency is smooth.
Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread the apricot filling over the crust.
Make crumbs from the remaining crust and sprinkle it over the filling.
Bake it for half an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the bars when they are still warm.
Let it cool before removing from the pan.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!