On a recent snowy weekend, my daughter and I made a batch of Oatmeal Jam Bars to make the most of the cozy day—and to share with friends who joined us for an afternoon play date. We love this recipe because it’s easy to put together and each bite has a nice mix of fruitiness and buttery flavor. We made just a few adjustments to the original recipe, but we’re definitely bookmarking this one to make again this winter.
It’s been a while since I made bar cookies and I forgot how easy they are to make. There’s no rolling, cutting dough, or portioning out balls onto a cookie sheet. So simple!
The base of these bars is flour, oats, cream cheese, and butter, which makes a really soft dough of sorts. You simply press it into the bottom of your pan, so it’s fun to do with a little helper. I cut the brown sugar down from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup and used strawberry preserves—the Smucker’s strawberry Fruit & Honey—instead of raspberry based on my family’s preference. There was plenty of sweetness in the final bars, so no one missed the missing sugar. I also added a little vanilla extract to the dough to boost the flavor a bit. It was a really nice pair with the lemon peel that’s in the crust as well.
These Oatmeal Jam Bars bake up in just over 30 minutes and possibly the hardest part was waiting for them to cool completely before cutting them. I used two spatulas to lift the whole batch out of the baking pan and then sliced them easily on a cutting board. I was impressed by how well the crust held together. We enjoyed them with a little steamed milk and may have had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning with coffee—they are sort of like a fancy fruit and grain bar, after all!
Whether for a cookie exchange or just a snowy afternoon, your family will love these Oatmeal Jam Bars. Get the full recipe here.
I am so excited about BHG’s new Baking Cookbook. It’s gorgeous and has so many great ideas- from absolute basics to new, creative ideas. I am a sucker for ginger snap cookies, so I gave this Giant Ginger Cookie recipe a whirl. Let me tell you- they were chewy and DELISH! Plus they were really easy to make. You can also make them a little smaller (like I did) and cook them 10-12 minutes instead. I enjoyed mine outside on the deck at sunset for an end of the day treat with a cocktail. Happy Baking!
Giant Ginger Cookies:
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups shortening
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar
In a medium mixing bowl
stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside.
2.In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 2 cups granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and molasses. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture.
3.Shape dough into 2-inch balls using 1/4 cup dough. Roll balls in the 3/4 cup coarse or granulated sugar. Place about 2-1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4.Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are light brown and puffed. (Do not overbake or cookies will not be chewy.) Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Makes twenty-five (25) 4-inch
Photos & Illustration by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast
Raise your hand if you like to be the star of your cookie-exchange party! Katie here, piping in on a topic near-and-dear to my heart: Christmas parties. This time every year I go to an all-girls super-bakers show-off-your-stuff evening (Translation: A cookie-exchange party). We always ooh and aah over the variety: Creamy ganache-dipped cookies, lip-smacking salty nut bars, minty peppermint-topped goodies…and we always secretly want the pat on the back fora job well done.
This year, I came prepared. I’ve been eyeing this Chocolaty Melting Snowman recipe since I first grabbed it from our Christmas Cookies 2012 magazine; and it’s proven to be one of the top recipes of all time on our site.
It’s also ridiculously easy! You can follow the recipe or start with your favorite cookie, as I did (I’m a sucker for peanut butter cookies and wanted to make a favorite). I went with this Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. Bake and let cool completely:
For the snow, I microwaved almond bark with a little vegetable oil per the package directions. Drizzling is so much fun! I tucked a towel under my cooling rack and spooned on the good stuff:
While still melty, I added the top hat:
And an orange-sprinkle nose:
Then I let the “snow” set before adding black dots with a small tube of frosting:
And voila! You’ve mastered the cookie-exchange with your oh-so-cute Frosty. This recipe is a keeper—I’d love to make it with my kids someday!