You know those times when you need a treat and you’ve got to just go with whatever is in your pantry at the moment?? Everyone needs a few go-to recipes in the arsenal for times like that. At my house, those recipes include these Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, standard No-Bakes, and these little beautiful squares of deliciousness. I almost always, always, have everything I need on hand for these. It’s just flour, sugar, butter, oats, egg, and whatever jam I can scrape up in the fridge or pantry. They’re also really quick to mix up. Easy peasy.
There are a couple of different styles of bars like this. I also love the type that are more of a crisp shortbread crust with a crumbly, streusel-y topping. This dough has an egg in it, so it turns that crisp into more of a soft, chewy cookie. The very first time I tried this recipe I thought it really lacked flavor and depth. It was actually quite bland. I played around with it and ended up increasing the sugar by a little, the salt by quite a bit, and adding a hefty dose of almond extract. The resulting recipe was a winner and I’ve been making them ever since.
One of the great things about this recipe is that you really are just dumping everything into a bowl here. Both brown and white sugar, flour, salt, and oats.
Then pop in some butter (no margarine!) and an egg. It is important that your butter is at room temperature. We’re not taking the time to “cut” in the butter, so it needs to be softer than fridge-chilled, but you also don’t want it melted. So if you can remember, just pop the butter out on the counter, chop it into chunks, and let it sit for a bit before starting. If you’re softening in the microwave, do your best to not melt it like you usually do. (Admit it, you usually do. We all do.)
You’ll take part of that dough and press it into an 8×8 pan. I like to line my pan with parchment or foil, because it makes it easy to remove the bars when when you’re ready to cut them.
Next, you’ll spread jam on top. You can really use any flavor you like. The raspberry-almond combo is one of my favorites, but almond really goes with just about any fruit flavor. I would suggest using a high quality preserves though. In terms of grocery store picks, I like this Smuckers Simply Fruit spread because it’s less sugar-y than normal jam and you get more real fruit flavor.
I put 3/4 cup in the recipe, and I do kind of a heaping 3/4 cup, just a little less than a full cup. If you do want to go for a full cup, that’s exactly how much is in one of those jars of Simply Fruit. Crumble the rest of the dough on top.
Totally optional, but I also like to sprinkle some coarse turbinado sugar on top. I kind of sprinkle tubinado on top of any and all baked good these days.
I love the sparkly crunch it adds! This one is Maui Brand.
Pop those in the oven and bake them until the top looks set and slightly golden brown.
One of the hardest parts is waiting for these to cool before cutting into them. They really do taste better completely cooled, and it helps the jam to set up too. So if you need to make something hours ahead of time, this is a good bet.
The bottom layer is like a soft, chewy cookie, then the jam in the middle is gooey and sweet, and the top gets a little toasty crunch. It’s the perfect combo.
Try these once and I bet they’ll make it into the regular summer rotation!
Raspberry-Almond Cookie Bars
An easy-peasy, “you-probably-have-it-all-in-your-pantry-already” bar cookie recipe…that’s delicious to boot!
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (if using table salt, decrease to 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 3/4 cups raspberry preserves
- 1 tablespoon coarse turbinado sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 pan with a parchment sling (lay an 8″ strip of parchment across bottom of pan so it hangs over each end, and then lay another the opposite direction. Alternately you could just line the pan with foil, or simply spray with non-stick spray. Lining the pan makes it easy to remove the bars and cut.)
- Combine flour, white and brown sugars, oats, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cut butter into chunks and add to bowl along with beaten egg and almond extract. Turn mixer on and let mix until the mixture comes together into a cohesive dough that looks like coarse crumbs. Remove 2 cups of dough (about half) and set aside. Press remaining dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread preserves on top, avoiding the very edge of dough. Take remaining dough and crumble on top of preserves in an even layer. If desired, sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until slightly golden brown on top. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
My ingredients did no get too doughy – very dry. Next time what should I do to get it to bind better. Thanks
I would make sure when you measure your flour, you are lightly spooning flour into the measuring cup and not scooping it.
Thanks – they were yummy! 🙂
These are absolutely heavenly. I actually used the left over homemade cranberry sauce I made for Thanksgiving instead of raspberry jam and it was so good.
So yummy! Wondering your opinion on swapping 1/2 cup coconut oil for one of the cubes of butter???
You’d have to just try it, I’m not sure how it will turn out!
I’ve done these with coconut oil and soy free earth balance and they were awesome. I’m sure coconut oil would also work with butter. I decrease the amount of coconut oil just a smidge.
These were absolutely delicious — I did end up using a 7×11 pan and they came out perfect!
Made these this past weekend–absolutely delicious!! Perfect balance of salty and sweet, chewy and a bit crispy on the top, fruity and oat-y. Definitely my new favorite bar cookie! I am trying hard to resist the urge to make them again…right now! 😉
I’ve been saving this recipe since it came thru my email, sounds delish! Is there a way to use actual raspberries?
Ya, you could probably just toss fresh berries in there, or mash them up with a little sugar on the stove top to make your own jam 🙂
These look perfect for an Open House we are having this weekend. Would this recipe do well if it is doubled and baked in a 9 X 13 pan?
Do you think that these would pair well with the blueberry cheesecake ice cream on your site? I’m having a dinner party, and can’t decide between the two. Thinking I might just make them both!
Totally- especially if you make them with blueberry jam 🙂
Yummy, made these with huckleberry jam! Next time I will make these in a 9×9 or 8×11, they were just a little too thick-mine definitely look thicker than the pictures.
Tried these with a tropical twist: pineapple-apricot preserves, plus toasted coconut in the cookie dough…… sigh………
Thanks for a great recipe:)
These were delish, thank you! I had some leftover ginger cookie dough in my freezer, so I halved your recipe, omitted the almond extract, and used it as the base, sandwiched with orange marmalade and then grated the frozen cookie dough over the marmalade layer.
I slightly under baked to ensure a cakey texture. The grated cookie dough added a different, sometimes crunchy texture.
Although you would, of course, want to check with your doctor for sure, imitation almond extract is not made from almonds, but is a chemical as many extracts are. I am pretty sure you could use it even for someone with nut allergies.
they look delish – will they freeze well?
I thought you posted a workout plan in January but I cannot find it can you send to me?
Can you pop it out of the pan to cool? Or do you leave it in there until it’s cooled all the way? I just took mine out of the oven, and it smells so divine! My kids were super excited to hear I was making an OBB treat tonight!
If you pull it out of the pan right away while it’s hot it can fall apart. But you can definitely pull it out once it cools down to just warm (anything to speed up the wait time, right?! lol)
Hi, these look fabulous. My son is allergic to all nuts. Is there a substitute for the almond extract? Would vanilla extract work? Thanks!
Yep, vanilla is fine, or you can even leave it out completely.
When we had to avoid almond extract at our house I would sometimes jazz up baked goods with a drop of Fiore di Sicilia, which has a citrusy, woodsy flavor.
OH crap. I have all those ingredients. Nap, or bake? Okay, both, but in what order?!? Such a delightful dilemma 🙂
I don’t love the texture of oats in baked goods. If I put them in the food processor for just a couple of pulses, do you think the dough would still be okay?
The oat ratio is actually pretty thinned out so it’s not super oat-y, but I bet they’d be just fine if you pulsed them first.
How do you think the addition of mini chocolate chips would work here? Just based off of the sweet/richness? Maybe dark chocolate chips?
I would probably do dark chocolate, and chop them up a bit!
I have done this recipe dairy free with coconut oil and soy free earth balance and then added mini vegan chocolate chips (basically semi/dark chocolate) and they were sooo good. Seriously, I never make them without the chocolate :).
These sound delicious. We, too, have lots of open jam jars in the fridge, and my husband just made a fresh batch of strawberry jam.
I like this shortbread-crust type with rye:
Oh those look yummy! We frequently seem to end up with 4 jars of jam open in the fridge so it will be perfect next time I need to use some up!
Ha, seriously with the 4 jars of open jam. That’s my fridge, too!