Daily Archives: October 13, 2009
Here’s another recipe for you from my childhood. These are the best darn bars ever. They’re versatile too, I’ve experimented using apple butter instead of jam (they’re incredible)and I bet you could even slip lemon curd in here, up the vanilla, lose the almond and they would be awesome.
I have a lot of memories of my mother making these for us, especially with peach jam, which we seemed to have an abundance of when we were kids. All five of us still love these things. If someone brings them to a family get together, they are gone…usually well before the party’s over!
I like to make these with jam that I’ve made myself. The ones you see below were made with the last couple of jars of my Heirloom Strawberry Jam. What is that, you ask? It’s regular strawberry jam, with an extra shot of lemon juice and some freshly grated lemon zest. It really brings out the flavor of the berries and adds some extra zing.
These are fantastic with a cup of coffee, cocoa or any warm beverage on a cold day; they’re also really good out of hand, on the run for breakfast too. I’m giving you the original recipe below, but be sure to read Stacey’s Notes to see how I tweak mine. Of course I never follow the original recipe exactly…where’s the fun in that?!
3 C. plus 1 C. Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. each vanilla and almond extracts
1 C. shortening
1 C. sugar
8 oz. jam, any flavor
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.? Coat a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and shortening, using a hand held mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and almond extracts. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients except 1 C. flour. Slowly add dry ingredients to the egg mixture, stirring until well combined. The dough will appear smooth.
Press 2/3 of the dough into prepared pan. Spread jam evenly over dough. Combine the reserved 1 C. flour with the remaining 1/3 dough and work until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbled dough over the top of the jam layer. Bake for 25 minutes, or until desired doneness is achieved. Makes 24 bars.
(Stacey’s Notes: I used vanilla paste instead of regular vanilla in these. Not because it was intended, but because I was out of my regular vanilla and it’s what I had on hand. I love the way it looks and tastes in the finished product though, so I will probably run with that from now on. These will bake up fine with plain ole’ vanilla, I’ve been making them that way for 20 years, so either one is fine.
I also use TWO 8 oz. containers of jam. This is because I’ve found that the crust absorbs some of the jam. Using 8 oz., it’s just enough absorption to make these bars kind of dry, and I don’t like dry. With 16 oz. of jam, they’re perfect. Not soupy, not too moist, just right and oh-so-flavorful.)
If you try them, let me know. Especially if you tweak them…I love to hear everyone’s tweaks, I get so many new ideas and tastes from that! More than anything, I hope you enjoy them. Happy baking from my family to yours!