These snacks started as a quest to provide coffee sweets for friends at my church who have celiac disease or are wheat intolerant. Bob's Red Mill makes an oat flour and oatmeal that is certified GF. Using these two products in combination with an awesome jam that I got for Christmas, plus my all-time favorite 'secret ingredient', I made these yum bars.
Stonewall Kitchens started out as a small outfit over on the seacoast border of New Hampshire and Maine. Originally, the guys made and sold jams and jellies, but the company has grown over the years. Their products are exceptionally good ... jams, jellies, vinegars, savory sauces, spice mixes, and now, GF mixes. They have a cooking school going, a huge company store, a wholesale operation, and outlets. It's been an amazing success story ... but I digress. Let's leave it that you might want to try some of their stuff (and I didn't get a cent for saying that or pumpin' their product!).
These little envelopes of vanilla sugar are one of my favorite 'flavor enhancers'. I discovered sugar essences when I lived in Germany. To this day, my German and ex-pat friends pop packets of these sugars in small envelopes and send them my way, as little gifts. I use orange, lemon, and vanilla sugars to add 'just that little something' to batters, puddings, pie and tart fruit fillings, custards, and mulled cider. I have never found them in my area supermarkets, so I am always happy to have an envelope come from friends overseas. You may be able to find them in the baking aisle at your stores. If not, 'friend' an overseas blogger and see if you can get a hook-up.
Okay, enough shameless plugging of my favorite products ... the recipe.
Apricot Cherry Oatmeal Bars
adapted from a Bob’s Red Mill recipe
Oatmeal Bar Filling Ingredients:
2/3 c. Stonewall Farms Apricot Cherry jam ( or another like-minded jam of your choice)
½ envelope vanilla sugar (1 tsp. homemade vanilla essence sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla
Oatmeal Bars Ingredients:
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. GF oat flour
1 ¼ c. GF old-fashioned oats
½ c. light brown sugar, packed
½ envelope vanilla sugar
1 ½ tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
Zest from one lemon
½ tsp. kosher salt
Making the Bars:
1. Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 375° F and grease an 8”x8” baking pan. Line it with parchment paper.
3. Melt the butter in a mixing bowl and add the other bar ingredients, mixing well until they form a buttery crumble.
4. Press about half the crumble into the bottom of the pan, forming a solid base for your bars.
5. Smear the jam filling right up to the edges.
6. Crumble the other half of the bar mix onto the top of the jelly filling, leaving tiny ‘peepholes’ of jam showing. Press the crumble topping gently.
7. Bake for 20 minutes , then turn on the broiler and brown the top of the oatmeal bars … BE careful not to singe them!
8. Remove from oven and cool for half hour.
9. Lift the bars out of the pan, using the parchment paper. Place on a flat surface and use a rotary pizza cutter to slice the bars into small squares.
10. Transfer to a pretty platter for serving.
Grab a glass of milk! Enjoy!
Psssst! Last year this time - Bread ... The Ultimate Sustenance