A collection of seasonal recipes and stories

jam crumble bars

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Here’s what happens when you work for a jam company: you open your refrigerator one afternoon to put away a six-pack of beer and discover that you can’t, because there are thirteen jars of jam in the way. (Also, you get to attend fancy award ceremonies in San Francisco and personally sell jam to Alice freakin’ Waters. No biggie.)

I eat a lot of jam—in the mornings with yogurt and granola and, often, for dinner with cheese and rustic crackers. Still, I don’t eat enough jam to prevent my refrigerator from being overrun by half-eaten jars of it on a fairly regular basis.

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And that’s when I start baking. I make a fantastic jam tart, but lately I’m partial to these crumble bars. They start with a tender short pastry base bulked up with oats and almonds, then comes a thick layer of jam nestled under crumbled bits of the same short pastry. The crust bakes up golden brown and nutty, with a soft, sandy texture that gives way to the bright fruitiness of jam. The combination is classic and homey, and these crumbly little jam bars are a perfectly lovely way to make use of even a brand new jar of jam.

recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated, by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

18 responses

  1. Having grown up on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan, I was hoping the Thimbleberry Jam would win. I have fond memories of picking as a child. I bet you never thought your job would enable you to meet Alice Waters. How fun, and congratulations on the win!

    February 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

  2. Well, hello from Northern Michigan! I’ve never been up to the Keweenaw but everyone tells me how gorgeous it is. Maybe this summer.

    And no, I would never have imagined that someday I’d have an actual (albeit brief) conversation with Alice Waters.

    February 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

  3. no cool stories, but lots of jelly. Thanks for the new idea. I love to glaze meat with my jelly spares.

    February 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm

  4. Oh YUM! Blackberry for me.

    February 26, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    • Blackberry sounds excellent! Raspberry is traditional, and I used cherry-raspberry, but blackberry would be really lovely.

      March 1, 2012 at 8:05 am

      • It was! I just ate the last bite. Next summer, I will make plum just for this. I also have some leftover cranberry sauce frozen I thought might be good. Have you ever tried it with walnuts? Was thinking walnut in place of almonds and apple butter for filling. I always have a lot because I make it from all my apple scrap.

        By the way, I liked these even better the next day!

        March 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  5. Emma @ Sweet Mabel

    mmmm, yummy. They look delicious! x

    February 27, 2012 at 8:25 am

  6. Those look wonderful. I have a similar recipe and those things are like crack to me. You know what will take them to the next level? Chopped pecans. Trust me.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

  7. egg me on

    Simply amazing! What a great use for your ample supple of jam.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm

  8. Oh my goodness. I have not had any sugar for 5 weeks now (I sit here drinking a glass of beet juice at the moment), and felt the sugar cravings had finally stopped…until now. These bars look AMAZING. I am going to absolutely have to wait to make these until I have a party to throw or go to, because there is no way two people (me being one of them) could possibly be safe with an entire tray of these in the house. Uh-uh. This is my kind of dessert, though, I’ll tell you what. And how cool that you work for a jam company!

    February 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    • Beet juice?! You must have amazing willpower. I took the jam bars right to work, where the jam came from in the first place. Because no, you cannot have 36 dessert bites tempting you from the kitchen counter.

      March 1, 2012 at 8:07 am

  9. Beautiful! What a great way to use jam :) Great post!

    March 1, 2012 at 7:35 pm

  10. cafesatsunset

    Love the pictures! They jam bars look absolutely yummy and irresistible. I’m curious, what does the whole grain dark rye flour contribute to the overall recipe? Is it taste? Density? Consistency?

    March 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

  11. This looks fantastic! Bars like this are my boyfriend’s favorite, so I am thinking I should be a nice girlfriend and bake this soon! With raspberry jam. Or blueberry. … Or I wonder how would it turn it with – instead of jam – peanut butter & honey. Or Nutella!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm

  12. Oh, wow. I love anything with crumble on it… especially if one of the ingredients is old-fashioned oats! Definitely going to give this a try (when the weather cools down, that is. I live in Australia and right now it’s too darn hot to turn the oven on… 39 degrees C/102 degrees f today!). Thanks for sharing x

    January 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

  13. My mum used to make something very similar to this when I was a little girl, but she did the topping with coconut, her mum made them for her when she was little. You’ve reminded me to raid my mums old cook books this weekend. These look delicious!

    January 15, 2013 at 8:20 am

  14. I can empathize with having too many jars of jam/jelly/preserves/whathaveyou in the fridge to properly put away groceries – and I don’t even work for a jam company. There are just so many flavors out there I love and find and have to try I keep collecting them, without being able to eat them fast enough. This crumble bar looks absolutely delectable, though, and will likely soon be using up a jar or two from my fridge.

    Then I can get different jams! That’s how this works, right?

    Oh and any sweets recipe with rye flour in it is so be-still-my-heart.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm

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