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!

on Baking Dairy-Free Berry Bread

Sliced cranberry bread on a plate.It’s been a little while since I’ve been diagnosed with a dairy allergy, but not long enough that I’ve figured out alternatives to a lot of my favorite bakes or meals. That being said, I’ve finally found a way to update my mom’s berry bread recipe that doesn’t taste dry.

It took a few attempts to get it right and may continue to evolve over time. For example, one of my next attempts may be to try coconut cream. (I worry that it will alter the flavor so have been too chicken to give it a try)

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tbs Stevia (or 1 cup of sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 butter alternative (I like Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of berries (I recommend blueberries or cranberries — frozen or fresh!)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Melt butter alternative.
  4. In a small bowl, beat two eggs.
  5. Add butter alternative and orange juice to beaten eggs.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ones, mix well.
  7. Fold in berries.
  8. Spoon into greased loaf pan.
  9. Bake for 1 hour.

Personally, I enjoy this bread after it’s been grilled on the stovetop with a little more of the butter spread or with an over-easy egg on top of it. Just be careful, my partner and I can eat a loaf in a weekend!

Trying something new: homemade fig bars

Between the general goal of trying new things, a desire to suck up to the poet in my life, and withdrawal symptoms from a lack of new Great British Baking Show episodes beginning to show, I found myself perusing Pinterest in search of a homemade fig bar that wouldn’t take hours of prep and millions of ingredients.

Enter Alida’s kitchen, or more specifically the blog that I found the recipe of choice on. Alida’s recipe, known as Oatmeal Fig Bars, is seven steps (check) and everything on her ingredients list, minus the dried figs, was already located in my cupboard (check). Skimming the recipe, the only piece of equipment I didn’t own was a food processor. Having a friend I could borrow one from, this satisfies another checkbox for me: no crazy equipment that I need to purchase for one bake.

Sliced dried figs cooking on the stove top.The best part of this bake? Each part was delicious on their own. I can see myself using the fig filling as a jam or as something to add to brownies. Or using the oatmeal base to create other types of cookie bars.

I can’t get over how easy it was to make the fig filling, which was the part of the fig bars that in my mind would be the most difficult part:

  1. In a small saucepan, put figs, water, lemon juice, and zest, and bring to a boil. Simmer until mixture starts to thicken (about 3 minutes). Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Put filling in food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

That was it. Two steps, totaling less than ten minutes. Ten minutes meant the kitchen smelt so good my dog didn’t want to wander too far from it. Another five minutes to make the dough and 25 minutes until they were sitting on the counter waiting to be eaten.

Close up of homemade oatmeal fig bar before being cut.Some general notes on the recipe that it may be helpful to be aware of:

  • The dough is very dry — that’s ok! Do NOT add water. I made this mistake, it made the dough sticky and hard to spread. It also meant my bars needed a little more time in the oven and never goldened.
  • There is not enough dough to have a top and bottom layer. Alida says as much in her recipe, the top of her bars have the dough “crumbled” on top. I would consider doubling the dough recipe in order to have two complete layers
  • The figs are delicious — but that step would be a fun place to add additional fruits.
  • For a fig bar lover, the 35 minutes this process took was too long. I thought it was very reasonable.