Here we are less than two weeks from Christmas, and I find myself in a strange place. Usually, at this time in December, I am busy in the kitchen baking up our family favorite holiday cookies, decorating every inch of my house, and bustling to wrap the gifts and get them under the tree.
This year we decided to head up north to spend the holidays with family for the first time in ten years, and I made the difficult choice not to decorate my house this year since no one but my husband and I will see it. I also didn’t want to bother trying to bake and then ship cookies up north, so I am hoping that once I am in Michigan, that I will be able to squeeze in some baking time with my grandkids. Since Christmas is my favorite holiday where I tend to go just a little crazy with decorating and baking, I am feeling a little lost.
I was missing my holiday baking so much this week; I decided to bake a couple of things that we could enjoy now, that weren’t necessarily just for the holidays. I baked a loaf of Eggnog Banana Bread which turned out very moist and delicious with just a hint of holiday flavor.
I also made a big pan of these bars, which are chock full of nuts and have just enough chew to them to make them very satisfying. You can use almonds or hazelnuts in place of the walnuts, and any flavor of jam will work as the filling. I used peach jam in my bars, but red currant or cherry would look a little more festive if you are baking for the holidays.
I prefer to use low sugar jams to keep these bars from being too sweet, and since this recipe makes a large pan of bars, feel free to cut them up after baking and then freeze half after wrapping them well. Since they are not too sweet and are made with oats and nuts, these bars are great to nibble on with your morning coffee, or to offer guests stopping by throughout the holidays without feeling guilty.
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter At Room Temperature
- 2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Large Egg At Room Temperature
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups Oat Flour (Or All-purpose Flour)
- 2 Cups Regular Oats
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Cut Chopped Walnuts (Or Pecans, Hazelnuts, or Almonds)
- 1 (12 Ounce) Jar Of Jam (Read Notes Above)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray a 13 x 9 inch cake pan with baking spray, then cut a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom of the pan with an overhang of two inches.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add the sugar, and beat until mixed.
- Add the egg and extract and mix until combined.
- In another bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, nuts, salt and cinnamon.
- Dump the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix just until combined.
- Remove half the dough mixture and set aside.
- Press the remaining dough over the bottom of the prepared pan with your finger tips to cover.
- Spoon the jam over the dough in the pan and smooth to cover.
- Crumble the remaining dough with your fingers, and sprinkle on top of the jam.
- Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned.
- Cool in pan for 30 minutes, then use the parchment paper to remove the bars from the pan.
- Cut into small squares and enjoy!