by Stephanie Zonis
These are fun-to-munch, easy-to-make little bars, with the good flavors of chocolate, jam, cinnamon, brown sugar, and oats (among others). Bars of this type usually use semisweet chocolate chips, and you can certainly do that, but I prefer the more assertive flavor of a good bittersweet chocolate here. Because they contain bittersweet chocolate, these would probably be most appreciated by adults. They'd be perfect with tea or coffee after dinner, for a snack, or if you have been elected to bake something for a co-worker's birthday.
Experiment with different types of preserves here to see what you like best. My favorite is a good seedless raspberry jam, but other possibilities are strawberry, apricot, or morello cherry. Just make sure to use a thick preserve-and a flavor that goes with bittersweet chocolate! These keep well at room temperature for a couple of days, if stored airtight, and they freeze nicely.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 egg yolk, from egg graded "large"
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
(stirred before measuring)
1 cup old-fashioned oats or
quick-cooking oats (NOT instant oatmeal)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1-1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup well-stirred seedless raspberry jam
9 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate,
chopped (into chocolate chip size pieces)
Adjust rack to center position in oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13-by-9 inch pan (at least 1-1/2 inches tall) with heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side up, so there is about an inch of overhang on all edges (the exact amount isn't critical). Fold the overhang back over the outside of the pan. Have ingredients for Filling and Topping ready before Crust is prepared.
In medium bowl, combine softened butter and brown sugar. with large spoon, cream together until well-mixed. In small cup, beat cream with egg yolk to mix thoroughly. Add to butter mixture and stir in well. Add flour; mix in until blended.
Place Crust mixture by small spoonfuls all over bottom of foil-lined pan. with floured fingers, press to form an even layer on pan bottom. Keep your fingers lightly floured as necessary (I end up using both fingertips and the backs of my fingers to do this; see what works best for you).
Bake in preheated oven just until outer edges are a darker golden color, 8 to 10 minutes. While Crust bakes, put together the Topping.
In clean medium bowl, combine oats, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. with spoon, stir to blend well. Add brown sugar and mix in, pressing out any lumps with back of spoon. Add softened butter. with your fingertips, distribute the butter as evenly as possible into the oat mixture, creating a streusel (you can also cut in the butter with two knives until it is in fine pieces, or use a fork to help you get it into the oat mixture).
When edges of Crust are a darker golden color, remove pan from oven. INCREASE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 375 DEGREES F. By small spoonfuls, place jam all over hot crust. with back of spoon, spread jam evenly to within 1/4 inch of each edge. Sprinkle chopped chocolate all over jam as evenly as possible, again stopping about 1/4 inch from each edge. Sprinkle Topping over all of crust as evenly as possible.
Return pan to oven. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees F, until edges are slightly darker in color and jam bubbles up through Topping in a few places. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
To cut, you'll need a large, sharp, heavy, straight-edged knife. Trim about 1/4 inch from each edge before cutting into the cookies into bars. Store airtight at room temperature up to two or three days, or freeze for longer storage.
Copyright © 2000 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created March 2000
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