So school has started. It’ll be about a month until Christmas decorations start to show up in stores. Things are only going to start getting more hectic from here; now that the slow & easy days of summer are gone. So how about some comforting treats? Like cookie bars! I love cookie bars. Cookie bars are so easy, fun and delicious. Plus they’re even kinda cooler to make than cookies, because you can just throw it all in a pan and not worry about the shape. Or removing it too quickly before it’s cooled and ending up with a smooshed falling apart cookie and a burned mouth.
Or is that just me?
Yeah. So cookie bars. Jammy bars. Cookies filled with jam, basically.
Anyway, this is a great recipe for many reasons. One, you can use up some of those half-filled jars of jam in your fridge. Two, it’s a great school lunch item. And three, it’s 100% customizable. Literally any kind of nut and any flavor jam/preserve can be put in it. Including lemon curd or Nutella, if ya wanna get crazy! You can literally do anything you want and they’ll come out sweet. Get it? Sweet? Ha. Or hey, even pumpkin pie filling! GO NUTS.
And the best thing is, if you have problems taking it out of the pan & it crumbles, it makes a fantastic ice cream or yogurt topping! SO WHO CARES! PAAAAARTYYYY!
*ahem* The only reason I mention that is because the first time I made them, that’s what happened. Still delicious, but I didn’t use enough butter/flour on the pan. Ooopsie.
FRUIT & WALNUT JAMMY BARS (adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking dish
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for baking dish
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, or nuts of your choice
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (*OPTIONAL)
- 1/2 cup fruit jam or fruit butter; I used homemade peach and cherry jams mixed together
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Butter & flour** an 8-inch square baking dish. In a bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder.
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy; beat in egg yolk. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
- In a small bowl, whisk jam to loosen (stirring the jam with a fork or a whisk will enable it to spread smoothly over the dough). Gently press half of dough into bottom of prepared dish. With the back of a spoon, gently spread jam over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border so the jam doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan. Mix remaining dough with rolled oats (if using), then sprinkle over top of jam all the way to the edges; press gently to form top layer. Sprinkle the walnuts on top of that.
- Bake until top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool completely in dish. Cut into bars with a serrated knife.
* You can use straight up cinnamon as well, or leave it out completely if you wish. I happen to think it adds something really nice.
**You can also just use parchment, which is way easier.
Again- you can make this your own in many ways. I used a mix of homemade peach and cherry jams that were in my fridge, you can use anything you want. A great alteration without doing much is to use a store-bought fig jam for the filling (I did that once, but with a homemade jam) and it would be sort of Fig Newton-y. Also, you can use almonds or any other kind of nuts. Peanuts and a grape or strawberry jam would make a cool PB&J-type cookie bar!
Some other ideas:
- apple butter & walnuts
- Nutella and hazelnuts
- lemon curd and almonds
- pumpkin butter and walnuts
- cherry jam and almonds
- pineapple jam and macadamia nuts
So ya know how sometimes you make something awesome, and then the end result doesn’t photograph well, or maybe you’re running out of patience and/or time and it just doesn’t mesh? That’s what happened here. I really wanted to share this recipe with you because it’s pretty cool, and versatile, and easy- and that’s what I’m all about.
But it wasn’t the best weather, the lighting was poor, I was in a hurry… and the pictures didn’t come out fantastic. And this post probably leaves a lot to be desired in general. So pardon me.
I promise you they’re worth making, either way.