"Because life is good, home cooking is best, and there is always something to be grateful for." - Christy Jordan

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peachy Oat Bars!

Don't act so surprised that I made something with peaches.... I already confessed my extreme love for them. In fact, this recipe didn't even start with peaches, so, naturally, I changed it up a bit. I look at it as making it more delicious :)

Peachy. Oat. Bars. Yes, they are as delicious as they sound! And they are so, so simple. I think you'll be surprised. Now here's my question... are these considered a dessert? A snack? Breakfast even? You'll have to let me know because I'm just not sure. I think they are delicious no matter what time of day they're eaten!

I saw Giada De Laurentiis make something like this on her show a while back and I thought they looked good. Then I was browsing one of my favorite food blogs, The Pioneer Woman, and I saw them again! I took it as a sign, wouldn't you? Both Giada and Ree used apricot preserves..... uh why would I use apricot when I could use peach preserves. It's a no brainer, really.

Y'all, these are seriously good. They're buttery, crispy, crunchy and sweet, but not too sweet. Plus there's oats in them, which means that they're kind of good for you, right? That's how I see it at least. The butter and the brown sugar together make these bars outrageous.  I can't even explain it. Then the peach flavor in the middle sends it over the top.They are amazing!

I think the best part is that this recipe is one of those "good base" recipes. You could make it the original way, or alter it to your tastes by changing the flavor of fruit preserves. Do you realize how many different fruit preserve flavors are out there now? Last night when I was at the store I saw a Peach-Mango one. Who knew! It's just like how I exchanged the peach preserves for the apricot; you could use strawberry, blueberry, raspberry......the list goes on. You could even try other combos like peanut butter and jelly, chocolate chips, apple butter.... okay now my brain is running wild. I'm going to be brainstorming other combinations to try!

Peachy Oat Bars
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman 

1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. oats (I used quick-cooking, but I think any will work.) 
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (Use less if you're using salted butter)
1 3/4 sticks of butter, softened and cut into pieces (This is 14 tbsp. total)
1 (18 oz) jar of peach preserves (or your favorite fruit preserves)
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray either an 8"x8" square pan or a small rectangular pan with non-stick spray. I used a rectangular glass pan that was 8"x11" and it worked perfectly.

In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer) add the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and walnuts. Mix on low speed until everything is evenly distributed.

In go the oats...
then the flour...
then the brown sugar... (make sure it's packed!)

 then add the baking powder and salt.
Then add the walnuts and mix it all together for a minute so everything is evenly mixed. 

Now slice the butter into chunks and add it to the mixture. You want the butter to be mixed in well so there will be tons of little, tiny pieces of butter. Then when it's in the oven, all those tiny pieces melt into the brown sugar and it gets all toasty and crispy. Delicious!

Slice the butter into chunks...

 Toss them into the mixture...
Mix everything together until the butter is in tiny pieces and the mixture looks moist. I mixed mine for a couple of minutes, increasing the speed a few times.
Okay! Now get out your jar of fruit preserves. I got the big jar because some extra peach flavor isn't going to hurt anyone :) In your prepared pan, dump half of the crumb mixture into the bottom and press it with your hands so it's compact. Then spread the entire jar of preserves over that layer.
We're lucky that jar isn't a little wider, because I would have most definitely tried to lick the inside :)

Spread it into an even layer.

Then dump the other half of the crumb mixture on top of the preserves. Spread it so it's in an even layer and gently press it in with your hands. You shouldn't be able to see the preserves underneath.
Totally covered and ready for the oven!
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Let the bars cool completely (this is the hardest part!), then cut them into square bars.
Then eat as many as you want because they're good for you! They have fruit and oats in them. Just ignore the brown sugar and butter :)
So crumbly and peachy!

Before I wrap this up, I want to show you some cupcakes! I went to Houston this past weekend to visit my good friend Taylor and we did some damage and some Houston cupcake shops :) Taylor is my friend that I can always talk food and baking with, so she knows how much I love cupcakes! I just had to show you these because they're so pretty!

All of our loot!

 Look how cute those pink and green sprinkles are!

These mini's are adorable. I love the red velvet with the turquoise frosting and red heart! What a cute color combination!

I hope y'all enjoy! If you make these, let me know what you think :)

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