Fruit-filled Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients:


1 cup flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (if you do not have whole wheat, use 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour but adjust amount of butter to 1 and 3/4 sticks)

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks of butter cut into small chunks

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

18 ounce jar strawberry/blackberry preserves


Here's what to do...


In a large bowl combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and either with hands or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the whole mix looks like small pebbles. After butter has been well cut in, add the oats and stir well with spoon or fork to combine.


Place half of the flour/oat mixture into a sprayed 13 x 9 baking pan and press to make an even crust on the bottom of the pan. Next, pour preserves into a small bowl and stir to thin and make smooth. Spread preserves onto the bottom flour/oat layer. You'll want to take your time here and spread the preserves evenly which could prove tricky. It may also be a good idea to wet a spoon to help spread the preserves. Don't fret if some of the oatmeal layer gets into the preserves, it won't ever show up in the finished product...trust me here.


Now, add the other half of the flour/oat mixture and press gently to create the top layer. Place in a 350˚ oven for about thirty minutes or until golden. Let cool for 5-10 minutes then cut into squares. Now the hard part...wait 20 more minutes for the oatmeal bars to cool completely. Your efforts here will help you to avoid being burned by hot strawberry jam...trust me here too.


A note about the preserves:  I cannot think of any fruit preserve or jam that wouldn't be wonderful in these bars. I've used a combo of strawberry/apricot...yum. I've used plain strawberry...also yum. My sister used a homemade peach jam...the reports were...yum. Today I used this new jam from Smuckers...very, very...yum. 


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