These oatmeal jam bars are what your bar cookie dreams are made. They succeed at being both crispy and chewy, sweet and salty, and, yes, also fruity. The oats make them wonderfully toothsome. And although the bottom crust and topping are made from the same dough (you're welcome!), they taste as different as different can be.
Moreover, the recipe is a one-bowl wonder, meaning that not only will you will have very few dishes when all is said and done, but the recipe can be assembled in just minutes. These bars are wonderful to make with kids, as much of the assembly of the dough, if not all of it, can be done with your hands—and some of us believe your hands are the best tool in the kitchen.
The bars are also versatile flavor-wise as you can use whatever jam you have on hand to fill these cuties. And you can change it up depending on the season: strawberries in the spring, peach in the summer and—if you can find it—apple or pear in the fall and winter. But truly, no matter when you make these or what flavor jam you fill them with, they are a crowd pleaser of the finest order.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups cold salted butter
- 1 yolk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups jam (any flavor you'd like or have on hand)
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with cooking spray or softened butter and line with parchment.
To make the crust and topping, combine the flour, oats, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until incorporated.
Cube the cold butter and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is crumbly and pea-sized. Alternatively, you can use a pastry blender or two butter knives.
Add the yolk and vanilla and, using a fork, stir them into the crumbly mixture. Switch to your fingers if you feel comfortable, and continue mixing the dough until the yolk and vanilla are fully incorporated and the dough holds together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers.
Remove 2 2/3 cups of dough and place in a medium bowl in the refrigerator. Press the remaining dough firmly and uniformly into the prepared pan.
Evenly spread the jam over the bottom crust.
Sprinkle the refrigerated dough over the jam, rolling it into little balls between your fingers for the ultimate crumble topping, if you so desire.
Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway mark, until the oat crumb topping is lightly browned.
Let cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.
- For a crumb topping that really keeps its shape, freeze it while you spread the jam on the bottom crust, rather than refrigerating it. Or assemble the bars and pop the whole pan in the freezer for about an hour before baking.
- Bake the bottom crust for a few minutes before spreading it with jam for a crispier bar.
- Serve each bar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Freeze leftover bars on a cookie sheet and then, once frozen, transfer to a zippered plastic bag.
- If you do not have salted butter, you can use unsalted.
- Use light or dark brown sugar instead of the granulated or half brown and half granulated.
- If you have more than one flavor of jam in the house, use both to create a bar with a mixed berry/fruit filling.
- Use instant oats, instead of rolled, for a more moist, softer crumb.