Friday, September 27, 2013

Peach Crumb Bars

Whenever I have a committee meeting, I like providing coffee, fresh fruit, and a baked good. I know it isn't required of us, but I feel like it helps get everyone in a good mood.

In the past, I've made blueberry coffee cake, chocolate chip cookie bars, and I've brought in local donuts. This time I decided on another kind of cookie bar, since they're easy to make, and easy to transport.

We had 2 open jars of peach jam in the fridge (one that was made in July that was being used for breakfast that week, and one that had just been made, but wasn't filled high enough to boil). I think Joey had another jar at work, so we needed to use some of this up before it went bad! I looked for some cookie bars that had a jam filling, and came across one that called for raspberry jam. I figured it would work just as well with peach, and went ahead making that.

A few things I'll mention about the recipe. First, I think you could get away with less of the crumb mixture. You mix up everything but the jam, and then put 2/3 on the bottom, top with jam, and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 on top. We had so much of it, that when I sprinkled the remaining 1/3 on top, the peach jam was no longer visible. I think because of so much topping, it also took forever to bake. The recipe suggested to cook for 30 minutes, mine had to cook for 45-50 minutes. The finished product however, was great. If you'd rather have a less thick bar, I would suggest making 3/4 of the crumble mixture (that would be 1 1/3 cup quick oats, 1 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 3/4 tsp baking soda, pinch salt, 1/2 cup almonds, and 1 2/3 cup butter). Otherwise, just be prepared to keep increasing the baking time.

Another note - we only have raw almonds that still have their skins on. I put them in a metal bowl, and poured boiling water over them. After 2-3 minutes, I drained the water, dumped them on paper towels, and just slid off the skins. They come off really easily.

Recipe: Peach Crumb Bars
Slightly Adapted from Big Girls, Small Kitchen
Yield: 35 bars

2 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (18 tbsp)
1 3/4 cup quick oats + 2 tbsp (or measure out 2 cups and take out 2 tbsp)
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups of your favorite jam - peach, strawberry or raspberry would all be great

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9x13 metal pan with parchment paper, trying to go up the sides about an inch.
Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and almonds. Pour into the butter, and mix until it is well combined.
If you have a cooking scale, measure the crumble mixture and dump 2/3 of it onto the lined pan. Otherwise, just eyeball it.
Press out 2/3 of the mixture onto the lined pan, trying to make it as even as possible. Use damp hands if it starts to stick to you.
Pour the jam on top, and use an offset spatula to spread it out evenly. Avoid the very edges.
Break the remaining crumble into pieces, and place them on top of the jam.
Bake for ~30 minutes (or up to 50), or until the center is set, and the top is golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then cut into squares with a sharp knife. I cut it into ~1.8x1.8inch squares, which was 7 rows by 5 rows.
Keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days, or refrigerated for up to a week.