Trying something new: Oat Jam Bars

Over the summer, I made a plethora of blueberry jam after we picked blueberries. While the jam is delicious and not in danger of going off, we’ve eaten enough of it to want to enjoy it outside of the traditional ways that one enjoys fresh jam. After a failed attempt to make Jelly Donuts, and a lack of desire to try again without a stand mixer, I found myself wondering what other baked goods utilized jam as flavoring (besides jam cookies, naturally). Enter the Oatmeal Jam Bars I found on Pinterest, simple to make and potentially delicious.

Let me start by saying, these are incredibly easy to make. You’re basically whipping up a double batch of the crisp that goes on apple crisp and baking half of it for 10 minutes before adding the jam layer and the other half of the oatmeal mixture. So really, it’s a way to make a pie for anyone who doesn’t want to invest in the time required to make pastry.

If I were to make it again, I think using a tarter jam (and ok, less jam) would make the bars taste better as these were just a little too sweet for my liking. Also, not that I would add nuts, but the dish could be improved with a crunch… possibly line the bottom with a sugar cookie instead of the oat mixture?

Bottom line, we ate probably more than we should have in one sitting and I can see myself making this one again (perhaps with a few changes to the original recipe). I can’t make any promises, but I found a homemade pop-tart recipe that I may end up trying out next. Will report back if I do!

Trying Something New: Making Donuts

Eight jars of blueberry jam cooling on a kitchen towl.

To set the stage, I should mention that this whole thing started because we went blueberry picking this year and walked away with 8 lbs of blueberries. Most of this went directly into jars as jam, some of it was baked into bread and some of it stared at me begging to be put to good use. That’s when it hit me, blueberry donuts.

Making donuts without a fryer isn’t too difficult, in fact you “just” need a donut pan and a good cake donut recipe. If I had focused on making the blueberry donuts that I had set out to, they would have come out delicious. Instead, I found myself taking on the monstrous task of attempting to make jelly filled donuts without a mixer (I mean, come one I had so many jars of blueberry jam!).

To the book’s credit, the recipe itself was easy to follow. If I’m being honest with myself, I know exactly where things went wrong. For starters, we don’t have a microwave. This means that microwaving ingredients for 15 seconds (or whatever it was) needs to be done on the stove, which would have been easier if a temperature had been given. Next, there’s no way that I mixed the dough enough. My hands got tired and I didn’t have someone else around to delegate the task to. On top of that, I opted to double the recipe so that there would be enough to share with the local fire station, which means that I was attempting to hand mix more dough than a standard batch. When you combine those things together, there’s no way that the first prove was successful.

Pale and flat donuts or failed jelly donuts.

And yet, I diligently completed the next steps of rolling and cutting the dough before allowing it to prove for a second time. In reality, I knew when I put them in the oven that I would not have airy donuts in the end… but I still put them in the oven.

The final product? Weird tasting biscuits scone things. Weird as in you could taste the yeast, but they were almost ok if dunked in some blueberry jam (I at least lacked the pride required to fill the failed donuts with jelly). We threw them out, unsure if even the animals in the woods behind our home would want them. These would not do well on Great British Bake Off, I’d probably get an under proved and over done comment.

Will I make jelly donuts again? Yes, but I will probably borrow someone’s mixer first!