Oat Bars with Homemade Preserves

Our friend Shoko from San Francisco is a renaissance woman—whether it’s her day job  championing music with the San Francisco Symphony or her avocational expertise in the art of cooking and the science of baking—Shoko is a fabulous resource.

So, you can imagine my delight when I received Shoko’s homemade Meyer-lemon marmalade and Peach butter!  These treats made the most intriguing fillings imaginable for my crumbly, buttery oat bars—adapted from the good folks at Cook’s Illustrated.

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Ingredients

1 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 ½ cups rolled oats proceed for about ten seconds in a food processor
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
teaspoon Kosher salt
teaspoon vanilla
¼teaspoon baking soda
½ cup finely chopped almonds
12 tablespoons butter fresh from the refrigerator — cut into 12 pieces
cup preserves of your choosing.
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Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking pan (whatever you have around that’s smaller than 9X12—a square pan is better) with Pam and fold two sheets of foil (one in either direction) and spray them as well.

2. In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, briefly mix flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts until combined. Add the butter one piece at a time until the mixture is crumbly and readily presses together.  Add vanilla.

3. Press 2/3 of mixture into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Take out the hot bottom crust and spread the preserves over it, and cover the preserves with the remaining mixture.  (Press it lightly, but don’t burn your hands!) Bake until golden—about 30 minutes, rotating pan after 12 minutes or so. Cool completely on a wire rack—about two hours should suffice to give the bars time to coalesce.

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