When cleaning out my refrigerator recently, I discovered four partially finished jars of homemade jam. There were two jars of cherry jam, one of my own, just barely started, and another with just a little of my daughter-in-law's incredible spicy recipe--just enough for a breakfast of homemade toast with a peanut butter and jam topping. The other two jars were both my raspberry apple specialty (how do I do this, starting one before finishing the other?!?), so I poured those both into a single jar and reminded myself to use them soon.
I really needed to pare down the jam supply even further so started to look for jam bar cookie recipes, something I hadn't made for years. I was hoping to find something that didn't require lots and lots of jam yet would be the kind of cookie that would emphasize the fruity flavor.
That kind of recipe was hard to find, so I took ideas from a few that looked promising and made my own adaptions. The biggest change was to blend the jam with applesauce, toning down the sweetness while still allowing the fruit flavor to stay strong. I used my cherry jam, but any good jam would work just as well.
The result is a cookie that is less sweet than most and is something like a soft granola bar. It is important to press that first layer firmly, to be sure the cut bars don't crumble apart.
One bonus here: If you use oil or vegan margarine, these are completely vegan, something not always easy to find in cookies. Even if you use butter, you will have an egg-free, dairy-free recipe for anyone needing these special recipes.
Now I have gone from four jam jars to just one in my refrigerator, for the time being...but there is another jar of Amy's cherry jam just waiting to be opened...
Applesauce Jam Bars
2 c quick rolled oats (NOT instant)
1 c whole wheat or all purpose flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c melted butter OR canola oil
1/2 t salt--omit if using salted butter
1/2 c applesauce, preferably unsweetened
3/4 c jam of your choice, preferably homemade
1/3 c applesauce, preferably unsweetened
1. Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt and stir with a fork until well blended.
2. Pour in the 1/2 cup applesauce and butter or oil and stir until evenly combined.
3. Press about half the mixture into a well-oiled 7 X 11 or 9 inch square pan. Be sure to press firmly.
4. Combine the jam with the 1/3 cup applesauce and spread evenly over the crumb crust.
5. Cover with the remaining oatmeal mixture and press lightly with your fingers.
6. Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes, until just beginning to turn light brown.
7. If desired, when completely cool, sprinkle with a little powdered sugar.
Makes 24 to 36, depending on how you want to cut them.