Jam bars

More jam or too much? That is the question. 

I was looking for something to bake using homemade jam a neighbor gave me. He didn’t make it but someone at his work. I recently learned he is a chef at a local bar/restaurant. Not going to tell him about my food blog. Too much pressure!

These are from a Quaker Oats recipe booklet from 1982. Wow! That is older than my oldest child! Anyway I’ve used this for the banana crunch cake recipe and wanted to try some of the others. Over the years I probably have made a few but I just don’t remember. I came across these Wholegrain Jam Squares. They are whole grain because of the two cups of oats not because of anything whole wheat. In the 80’s oat bran, etc. was the key to lowering cholesterol. I also remember oat flour (made by grinding up oatmeal in the blender) was the secret ingredient in Mrs. Field’s cookies. Or so a letter circulated at the the time “revealed”. It would be a chain letter similar to and just as annoying as those Facebook posts telling you to “share if you agree”. (I admit I have succumbed if I was feeling particularly impassioned about something at the time. But mostly I roll my eyes and wonder if the poster will think I’m a heartless b—-!”)

Alright, enough about me, let’s get to the recipe. It is basically an oatmeal shortbread with jam and a streusel. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. 

  • 2 cups oatmeal, uncooked 
  • 1 3/4 cups flour, all purpose 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 3/4 cup preserves (or more as you will see below)

I left out the 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Add them if you would like. Mix everything together except the preserves. It helps if the butter is at room temperature. I use my kitchen aid mixer and it’s mixed in no time! Reserve two cups and then press the rest into the pan. Flatten with back of spoon. Now for the jelly! For the first batch I used a 4 ounce jar of homemade blueberry jam. It barely covered half the pan! So I spread a mixed berry preserves from my fridge (store bought) on the other half. Crumble the reserved mixture on top. This covers the jelly pretty evenly and thoroughly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool. Cut in squares. Eat. Might be nice served with ice cream. We just ate them and not all at once. I think they lasted 5 days or more! These were tasty but the fruit was barely noticeable. They looked marvelous!


I tried again. I figured twice the amount of jam and raspberry would be a stronger flavor. I used an entire ten ounce jar of raspberry jam. Whoa! I also inadvertently baked these at 350 F instead of 400. They looked a little under done and I cut them while warm. Tasty but gooey. Did I use too much jam?


The next day they firmed up nicely. The flavor of the fruit was definitely present. These just may become my “go to” recipe for coffee hour, bake sale, work pot luck, and “bring a dessert ” dinner invitations. 

For store bought jams and jellies be sure to read the ingredients before buying. Fruit should be the first ingredient listed. The only other necessary ingredients are pectin and sugar, preferably cane sugar or honey. Three ingredients is all that is needed in the real stuff. Beware of high fructose corn syrup. It’s what’s making America fat!

Super easy granola bars

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A few years ago I had seen a recipe for home made chewy granola bars made with sweetened condensed milk. I never wrote it down even though I made it several times. The last time I made it I had used a package of granola and did not like the results at all. So I am restless one afternoon. There are plenty of projects to do but nothing is striking my fancy. I really really wanted to make chocolate cupcakes but am determined not to bake any more sweets until Easter. But you all have posted some absolutely wonderful chocolate cupcakes and I am craving them! But I paw through my pantry to see what is there and decide to make granola bars. I figure these will be handy to walk out the door with in the mornings for work. And perhaps don’t really count as a sweet.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

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I start with 3 cups of oats. I add enough other ingredients to make just over 4 cups. I have a sneaky suspicion that the total amount of stuff should be closer to 5 cups. One can add seeds, nuts, dried fruits and just about anything granola-ish. To this batch I add coconut, banana chips, sliced almonds, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and just a few chocolate chips. Actually I use approximately 1/4 cup of each. Gently heat one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk  to thin. Pour over the ingredients and mix to coat everything.

granola bars 002I line a 13 x 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Pour the “batter” into this pan. I pat it down evenly with another piece of parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes. At this point I do not remember if I’m supposed to let cool before cutting or not. I lift it out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. When I tried to cut it warm it started falling apart.

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I let them cool a little bit and then I cut them into bars. The outer ones hold together better than the middle but they will firm up as they cool more.

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I love parchment paper. It is a wonderful invention. Growing up my mother used waxed paper or just greased the pan with Crisco. There was always a small hand sized square of waxed paper in the Crisco can for this purpose. The second greatest invention is cooking spray.

The granola bars are a hit. Hubby says “I like the taste”. They taste like honey and oats. These will be good for Hubby to grab and go in the morning when leaving for work along with a piece of fruit. That goes for me too!