Tuesday, May 28, 2019

jam bars.

This past weekend, I spent so much time eating outdoors.  A slice of pizza standing on a NYC street corner.  Salads and asparagus flatbread by the pool.  Focaccia sandwiches of roasted zucchini, kale pesto, and mozzarella in a hidden corner of Liberty State Park.   It was the kind of weather that beacons you outside.    Slight breeze, warm sun, freckled shoulders, bare feet.   

Come summer, I like making food that can travel well.  The kind of cooking that allows for spontaneity and spur of the moment park meet ups or alfresco dinners with friends.  As a natural introvert, I’m trying to set myself up to be more comfortable with asking people to do something on a really nice Sunday afternoon.   If the food can be flexible and adaptable, I like to think it’s possible I can be as well.  

To prepare for all of these impromptu picnics, I plan on having a batch of these bars in the freezer at all times between now and Labor Day weekend.  They are a dream – crispy and kind of cookie-like, filling but not heavy.  The right amount of sweet.  I filled them with a homemade cherry rhubarb jam (I cleaned out the freezer!) but I think they would be amazing with a strawberry jam or apricot jam come late summer.   

Jam Bars 
From Tartine All Day by Elisabeth Prueitt

1/2 cup/110g unsalted butter or coconut oil (vegan!), at room temperature
1/3 cup/85g smooth almond butter
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup or maple syrup
1 1/2 cups/150g rolled oats
1 cup/120g almond flour
1 cup/120g oat flour
6 Tbsp/90g granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp/340g jam 
1 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 9 by 13-inch/23 by 33cm baking pan with parchment paper. Combine the butter or coconut oil, almond butter, and brown rice syrup or maple syrup in a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix well.

Add the rolled oats, almond flour, oat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, and cinnamon to the butter mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough into thirds. Press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and reserve the remaining one-third for the topping.

Stir together the jam, lemon juice, and salt and then spread the mixture evenly over the bottom crust.

Crumble the remaining one-third dough over the jam filling. If desired, scatter slice almonds on-top.   

Bake the jam bars until golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes (push it a little bit, you don’t want them pale). Let the pastry cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

The jam bars will keep, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days (or in the fridge, which is kind of nice too).  Wrapped well, they will last for weeks in the freezer.  

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