It’s spring, and the grocery store berries are looking a bit better than usual. Also, I am lucky to know a Lutheran Church Lady who makes really cool jams.

Only this one is left: we already ate the cranberry-wine and strawberry-basil

So I want to eat berry pie, but am too lazy to make whole wheat pie crust, etc. Jam bars are like the easiest one-bowl dessert in the world (IMHO) to make IF you have a nice jar of jam. (Or if you don’t, if you also add fresh berries to the not nice jar of jam. Or actually add berries to even the nice jar of jam, because: health reasons)

I am falling in love with this recipe (Raspberry Jam bars) However, despite its good start on being fairly healthy with replacing some of the white flour with ground oats and nuts, I can make it even MORE healthier (and suit my not-too-sweet sweet tooth more) by a couple things: replacing the pecans (as delicious as they are) with walnuts ( a bit more heart healthy), replacing a greater amount of flour with ground oats, and you guessed it, decreasing added sugar (you don’t need it if you are as generous with jam as I am). I also added berries because of their antioxidant properties.

So here’s my version. The best part of this is you can switch up jams, add other fruit (oooh, imagine a raspberry jam with sliced peaches on top version! Or grated apple! or pistachios instead of walnuts!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or even whole wheat flour!)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Heaping 1/2 teaspoon some combination of cinnamon, cardamom and/or nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup JAM!!!!!!!
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup berries-of-choice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract if you like

350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Mix softened butter with sugar until light and airy; then mix in egg and extract (if you so chose).

Put flour, walnuts, coconut flakes, oats, salt, baking powder and spices into a grinder or food processor and whirl around until mostly ground up (doesn’t have to be too fine if you are rustic like me).

Pour dry ingredients into butter/egg mixture and combine (don’t over stir).

Take about 2/3’s of the resulting mixture and press (I wet my hands but you could also use a spatula I guess, it’s pretty sticky) it evenly into an 8 inch square, sprayed/buttered pan (or I just put down parchment paper). Spread jam on top. Dot with berries. Now take the remaining mixture and basically dot the entire top, or smooth globs all over the top, basically you’re not going to cover the entire bar but leave lots of jammy parts exposed.

Stick it in the oven and bake. I recommend waiting about 10-20 minutes to let it cool before attempting to cut into bars or taste (because you know..hot jam against the roof of your mouth is ouchy). Enjoy.