How do you argue with fruit and oatmeal cookies? Especially if you have, um…, like six jars of homemade jam in your cupboard. Or even one jar of commercial jam getting old in the back of your refrigerator.
Even better, they’re a snap to make, with just a handful of ingredients and easy cooking steps. And did I mention they’re vegetarian, vegan and diary free. Just in case you’re feeding someone with special needs!
Now you might worry that healthier equals heavy, or bland, but trust me–these taste just like regular cookies. Pinky swear!
Raise your hand if you’re in!
What are Jam Bars?
Oatmeal Jam Bars are a recipe that you’ll find all over the internet. So I figured it had to be good. People love these because they are tasty and easy with a bottom crust and top streusel made from the same mixture. Genius!
Or not. Because when I made it… the cookies were far too crumbly. And when I checked another source, her advice was to store them in the refrigerator. My overcrowded fridge?
While some other bloggers solve this by adding an egg to the crust, I wanted to keep this vegan. Instead I solved the problem by making one slight change. Figuring that shortbread is made from flour, sugar and butter–and it holds together, I had an idea. I left the oatmeal out of the base crust recipe, then added it back in to the remaining topping after the base was made. Ding, ding, ding!
Why You’ll Love This!
Tasty & Easy. Oatmeal Jam Bars wouldn’t be everywhere if they didn’t taste great and come together in a snap! That’s a winning combo!
Healthier. There are no refined grains in my version, just white whole wheat flour, almond flour and oatmeal. And it tastes just as decadent as a refined white flour cookie!
Use up that jam! Did you go crazy stocking up during the pandemic? I made so much jam. Problem solved!
What You’ll Need
- White whole wheat flour. This forms the bulk of the crust and topping. You can substitute all or part all-purpose flour.
- Almond flour. This is a secondary component of the crust and topping. It adds extra flavor and nutrition. You can use additional flour if you don’t have almond flour.
- Baking powder. This helps lighten the crust.
- Brown sugar. This adds sweetness and flavor.
- Coconut oil or butter. My first choice is coconut oil since it tastes sweeter, but butter or another hard oil can be used.
- Salt. This enhances flavor but can be omitted.
- Rolled oats. This contributes to the wholesome feel and flavor of the topping.
- Jam. This makes up the filling. Any flavor can be used.
- While not essential unbleached parchment is nice to have.
Step by Step Directions
Combine flours, baking powder, sugar and salt, then mix well.
Melt coconut oil or butter then mix into the flour mixture.
Measure the oats into a separate bowl. Remove some of the flour mixture and add it to the rolled oats to make the topping. Mix together.
Spray an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking pan with non-stick spray, then line with parchment. Press in the crust (the flour mixture without the oatmeal).
Top the dough with jam. If the jam is too thick it can be heated before spreading.
Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture over the jam.
Bake and cool, then cut.
How to Serve
These Oatmeal Jam Bars are great as a light dessert or snack. Consider adding them to a bagged lunch or taking with on a picnic!
For snacking, I like serving cookies with a glass of milk—or a cup of coffee or tea. It’s a great way to turn a snack into something more special!
For an even nicer treat, consider warming a bar slightly and topping with a scoop of ice cream. It’s almost like streusel topped pie!
Reducing sugar. These are also delicious as reduced sugar cookies. I used a homemade reduced sugar jam (these are available commercially too) and a brown sugar substitute that is a combo of real brown sugar and sweetener. While I’ve had mixed results reducing sugar in baked goods, this worked great!
Just be aware that sugar is a preservative and a reduced sugar jam will probably get moldy within a couple weeks, even refrigerated. But you can always make these bars again to use the jam up 😊!
Tips & FAQs
I recommend that you line your pan with (preferably brown) parchment paper. While these bars definitely hold together now, they are still a little challenging to get out of the pan. The first time, I simply sprayed with non-stick spray, and very carefully removed the cookies. Then I wrote in my notes, Put parchment in you idiot!
If you have a smaller household or just like to test smaller batches of food, consider purchasing some 6 inch square stainless pans. At 36 square inches, they are close enough to half of an 8 inch (64 square inches) or a 9 inch (81 square inches). I use them all the time to make a half batch.
What kind of jam can I use? You can use any flavor jam. Raspberry jam bars? Yup. Strawberry Jam Bars? That’s what mine are! You can even make cranberry jam bars with leftover cranberry sauce come Thanksgiving! Or mix different jams together!
Why do you use brown parchment? I like to use brown parchment paper rather than aluminum foil (or even white parchment) to line pans because it’s a lot easier on the planet. Plus I like to minimize my personal aluminum exposure. Parchment is good to temps up to 450 F (check your brand to be sure) and you can compost brown parchment (again check your brand) when you’re done!
Brown Bag Lunches
- Blackstone Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches from Jen Around the World
- Healthier Oatmeal Jam Bars from Art of Natural Living
- Naan Paneer Wrap from Magical Ingredients
- Pizza Roasted Chickpeas from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Roast Beef Sandwich Spread from That Recipe
- South of the Border Tuna Wraps from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Southern Style Chicken Salad from Palatable Pastime
Oatmeal Jam Bars
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup jam
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Combine flours, baking powder, sugar and salt, then mix well.
- Melt coconut oil or butter then mix into the flour mixture.
- Put the rolled oats in a 2nd bowl. Remove 2/3 cup (do not pack it) of the flour mixture and add it to the rolled oats. Using your fingertips, mix until it starts to clump. It will look dry at first but then come together. The flour mixture with the oatmeal is your topping and the mixture without the oatmeal is your crust dough.
- Spray an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking pan with non-stick spray, then line with parchment. Press in the crust dough, using a flat bottomed glass at the end.
- Top the dough with jam. If the jam is too thick it can be heated before spreading
- Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture over the jam.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden and bubbly on edges.
- Remove the pan to a rack and let the bars cool completely before removing and cutting. If the bars stick on the sides without parchment, slide a thin knife along the edge to release.
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