While I’m still just as obsessed with chocolate as ever, I’m eating berries in at least equal amounts while the gettin’s good. But fresh berries don’t last forever, and sometimes you need to use a bunch quickly or risk crossing that fine line between sooooo juicy and sweet and ewwww gross my finger just went through my berry. Enter strawberry oat bars.
My sister and I were determined to make jam this year, and, being turned off by the heat and massive sugar quantities in canned and freezer jams, we stuck to chia jam, which I discovered last year and literally can’t say enough good things about.
Chia jam making goes a lot like this: Buy berries. Wash berries. Throw in food processor with chia seeds and a bit of honey. Voila – we made jam! Still time for visiting, and the jam is set and ready to enjoy in 10 minutes. This is seriously my kind of jam. I wish I had thought to include it in the photos, because it’s also very photogenic :)
I received a lot of questions last year about freezing chia jam, and I can assure you it works fabulously. But when the jam is in your fridge, it only has about a 2 week shelf life since really, it’s just a jar of ground up fresh berries. If you’re never loved jam (I avoid any recipes with jam as a general rule), you need to give this a try. The taste is straight-up fresh berries, it’s totally healthy, and suddenly you can make recipes with jam in them without getting that sticky-too sweet taste.
Due to the short shelf life we tried to stick to smallish jars, but I had a big one of strawberry jam that there was no way we were getting through in 2 weeks no matter how many fresh scones I made. These strawberry oat squares solved the problem handily, a simple adaptation of fudge oat bars.
Delicious on their own, warm or cold, with whipped cream or ice cream, these lend themselves well to any of your favourite preserves and should come in handy any time this summer you have a plethora of fresh fruit needing to be used. If you love oats, butter and brown sugar in combination as much as I do, you’re going to love these bars like you love your air conditioning.
Hot feet are almost as bad as berries you accidentally stick your finger through, amiright?
- ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ cups regular or quick cooking oats
- 1 cup strawberry jam (see notes for instructions for chia jam)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x9" or 8x11" baking dish and set aside.
- Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
- Add salt, baking soda and flour and mix well. Add oats and mix again to combine.
- With slightly damp hands, press ⅔ of the dough into the greased pan. Pour the jam evenly over the base, then sprinkle the rest of the dough over the top and pat down gently with slightly damp hands (some jam should be showing through).
- Bake for 28-30 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool before cutting into bars.