Oatmeal Squares: A Quick Way to Use Up Last Bites of Jam

| 10/2/2013 11:04:00 AM

oatmeal squaresHere in coastal southeast Virginia, jam season starts in December with kiwis.  In April, the strawberries keep us busy through May.  In late June, the peaches ripen along with the blackberries, which are followed by blueberries.  The season rounds itself out with nectarines, figs, pears, and even apples into October.

I take advantage of our local fruit harvest and make a lot of jams.  Some will be enjoyed by my family, used to sweeten yogurt and oatmeal or spread on home-baked bread.  Most will be given as gifts.  At this point in the season, my shelves are overflowing.  There are jars in the kids’ playroom, jars in the laundry room, jars on the dining room floor.

Unfortunately, there are also jars and jars in the fridge, each containing a tablespoon or five and taking up valuable real estate.  I know I’m not the only food-preserver who has this problem!  With every batch of jam, there’s always just enough left-over that you can’t justify throwing it away, but it’s not enough to fill another jar.  Or the kids decide that raspberry isn’t their favorite flavor anymore and decide to open another jar of something else.  Or the jars just get forgotten about way back there in no man’s land.  Eventually, I get frustrated enough and decide to take matters into my own hands.

My stand-by recipe for oatmeal squares is the perfect solution.  The kids get a treat in their lunch boxes, and I get an emptier fridge.  Instead of using one kind of jam like I normally do, I used up all eight of the the almost-empty jars I had (which also included some apple butter.)

Oatmeal Squares Recipe

1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup butter
about 1 ½ cups jam

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease one 9"x13" or two 8"x8” pans.  In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients (I also add a bit of cinnamon if I’m using a jam like peach or even blueberry).  Cut in the butter.  Place about half of this mixture into prepared pans and press firmly.  Spread jam and sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture.  Press gently.

2/3/2014 1:05:43 PM

I have made these three times over the last two months. Each time they came out powdery. I tried adding a tablespoon more butter each time. Last batch I tried spritzing them with water before cooking, still dry and powdery on top. I made up four qt jars of dry mix first time I made them so can't mess with the proportions of flour to butter, but can add coconut oil which I will. I am using persimmon butter as the filling, don't think that could be the problem. Even powdery they are very flavorful with ice cream on top. I'll keep tweeking, I really want this to be a permanent item in my cookie jar.

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