I am never shy about requesting recipes because I think it is a compliment to that person that you enjoyed their dish so much you'd like to replicate it. That's how I feel when someone requests one from me. These bars were baked by a friend of mine who brought them to one of our volunteer training sessions last year. They are delicate and delicious, but very simple to make. I added some tips to the directions I'd received to make sure you get the perfect bars.
I'm sorry to report that I was only able to get a bite for quality control purposes since they were baked for someone else. I plan to make them again for a guild sew-in, so perhaps I'll get a whole one all to myself then.
Makes 16 squares
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square pan/glass dish and line with greased foil. I used a glass baking dish and it worked fine.
Combine the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and oats in a large bowl. Mix in the butter using your hands. Your objective is to distribute it throughout and form a crumbly mixture. Measure out 2 cups and press it evenly into the prepared pan/dish. It's important to get it as even as possible (especially in the corners). Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edges. Do not be tempted to add more jam or your bars will not hold their shape (trust me on this one, though I did need a "tester" and the center was perfect since I had increased the jam a wee bit). Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top and lightly press it into the jam.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until lightly browned and set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
I am truly impressed with the taste of these bars. Rarely does something with so few ingredients taste this complex. They are buttery, crumbly, and have just the right amount of sweetness. The smoothness of the jam is the perfect complement to the crumbly cookie. These bar cookies remind me of Linzer tarts. In fact, I may like them better since many Linzer tarts that are commercially prepared tend to be dry. I have a Christmas cookie I've made for years that have that same Linzer tart taste, but they are much more complex to make, so I think this is going to become one of those "go to" recipes.