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Sur La Table
These homey, irresistible bars can be put together in no time, will feed a crowd, and are loved by everyone. The brown sugar-oatmeal crust provides just the right sweetness and crunch against the soft, tart, lightly chewy filling in the center, which is simply a mixture of raspberry jam and dried sour cherries. Pack them in lunches, bring them to bake sales, or serve them warm with ice cream—this is a good recipe to have in your repertoire. Use old-fashioned oats when you want a hearty crunch, or quick oats for a more tender bite, but don’t use instant oats or you’ll have mush.
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned or quick oats (not instant)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (16-ounce) jar good-quality seedless raspberry jam
1 cup dried sour cherries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350℉ and position an oven rack in the center. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil across the bottom and up the two long sides, then lightly coat with melted butter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray.
Make the crumble dough. Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low speed until evenly mixed (or place in a food processor and process for 5 seconds). Add the cold butter and mix on low speed until the mixture looks like wet sand and starts to form clumps, 5 to 6 minutes (or process for 45 to 60 seconds, pausing to scrape down once with a spatula).
Divide the dough in half. Pat one half into an even layer in the prepared pan. Set the other half aside. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and crisp. Transfer to a rack and cool for 20 minutes. Leave the oven on.
Make the filling. Empty the jam into a medium bowl and stir well to break up any lumps. Add the cherries and stir until well mixed and all the cherries are coated with ham. Spread evenly over the cooled crust, all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the filling.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Transfer to a rack and cool completely, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
To serve, run a thin knife or spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen any dough or filling. Lift the cookies out using the foil as handles and place on a cutting surface. Cut into 3 by 1-inch bars. Just before serving, use the fine-mesh strainer to lightly dust the confectioners’ sugar over the cookies.
Yield: Makes 36 (3 by 1-inch) bars
For a non-dairy (parve) version, substitute non-dairy margarine for the butter.
Recipes: Desserts, Bars, Dairy, Kosher