I have a fabulous cookbook that highlights favorite recipes from bed and breakfast inns across the country. This week I found a recipe for apricot chicken breasts that called for a portion of a jar of apricot preserves to top the breasts while baking. I thumbed through the cookbook shortly thereafter and found a recipe for these apricot and oatmeal bars. What a great way to use up the balance of my preserves. This turned out to be a delicious treat as my family raved over these simple bars.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats 1 cup brown sugar 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 1 – 12 ounce apricot jam/preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients to form a crumb mixture. Pat 1/2 of crumbs into a greased 11x7x1 1/2” or a 9×9” pan. Spread the entire surface with apricot jam. Top with remaining crumbs. Bake for 40 minutes or until the surface is golden bown. Cool before cutting.
What to do with all of this delicious homemade jam? …Make Oat and Jam cookie bars!
Last week, we canned loads of Concord grapes and tucked the jars away for a year’s worth of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Thumbprint Cookies, and Chewy Oat and Jam Cookie Bars. Yesterday, I made a small pan of the delicious bars and they were gone in a flash. As we start the new school week, I am going to double the recipe, individually wrap the bars, and tuck them in the fridge so they can easily be packed in the lunchbox.
Starting this week, my children will be adding a morning swim practice to their already long school day so they will leave before 5:30 am and won’t return until after 6:00 pm. This means packing breakfast, lunch, and after-school swim snack into the lunchbox. I usually stock the fridge and pantry with homemade peanut butter, lots of fruits and veggies, eggs, cheese, milk, whole grain bread, yogurt, snacks, and oat cereal so there is plenty to choose from. This recipe is quick and easy to assemble. Use any flavor jam to suit your family’s taste. M has suggested we make a peanut butter glaze to spread over the warm bars…haven’t tried it yet but sounds like a scrumptious idea!
Chewy Oat and Jam Cookie Bars
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Concord grape jam. (other flavors will work just as well)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8×8″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix dry ingredients in to the creamed mixture. Press 1 1/2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam over this layer. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam. Lightly sprinkle chopped pecans over the bars. Bake for 25-30 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.
As I have mentioned in past posts, my children are swimmers and they are constantly eating! After buying my share of expensive power bars at the grocery store over the years, I decided to try to come up with a recipe that would replace the expensive bars found at the local market. This is the recipe that worked out best. These bars are quite delicious and surprisingly satisfying. If I had a nickle for every time I have shared this recipe with fellow swimmer parents, I’d be rich! 🙂
Curley Power Bars
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey or reduced sugar (1/3) corn syrup
1/3 cup margarine
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
1/2 cup raisins or dates(optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix first 5 ingredients until smooth and well blended.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Press into a greased 13×9″ baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. After taking the pan out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil until completely cooled. This helps to keep the bars chewy.
Note: I often sprinkle a little non-fat dry milk powder or protein powder into the peanut butter mixture to add nutrients and protein. Cut into bars when cool and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Pop one into a lunch box or a sports bag to give the kids a burst of nutritious energy.