These bars were inspired by MTM's recipe for Scotch Squares. You should definitely give the original recipe a try as well as this one.
My only real reason for fiddling with the recipe at all was because a) the hubs likes to grab one of these for breakfast in the morning and he has something against eating chocolate for breakfast (yes you heard me right MTM has chocolate in her recipe, but if you go there now without reading this one first I'll know) and b) I originally made them with crushed raspberries just because I had a mountain of them in the freezer after a mammoth berry picking session.
Firstly you'll need to preheat your oven to 180C (350F and gather together your ingredients which are;
1 cup melted butter
1/2 brown sugar (I tend to cut this down to about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup plain flour
2 1/2 cups of rolled oats (the regular porridge oat variety are perfect)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
grated zest of one lemon
1/2 cup of good raspberry jam
Reserve half a cup of oats and set to one side along with the raspberry jam.
Place all remaining ingredients into a large bowl and combine using a spoon or spatula. You don't need an electric beater for this as it's very light and quick work.
Once you have all of ingredients combined, take half a cup of the mixture and put in a separate bowl along with the reserved half cup of rolled oats and use a fork or your hands to combine. This will give you a crumblier mixture than the first.
Place the original oat mixture into a lined and greased 9 X13 pan (mine is actually about 8 X 12 but it all comes out in the wash) .
Press the oat mixture down quite firmly, making sure the mixture is pretty even and the corners are well filled (they're the best bit).
Next take the half cup of raspberry jam and spread it over the surface of the oat mixture. If, like me, you keep your jam in the fridge then stick it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to loosen it up.
Once the jam has been spread out, take the bowl of crumbly oat mixture and sprinkle it over the top of the jam. This actually works out easier to do if you grab a handful at a time and rub it between the palms of your hands over the top of the pan. It gives a more even coating that way.
You'll notice that I've also sprinkled over a few tbls of coconut just because I can't stop myself from adding coconut to everything at the minute. You don't need to add this and this was my first attempt at adding it in there, but it did turn out pretty damn good.
Then place the pan into your preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and the jam has deepened in colour.
Remove the pan from the oven and leave to cool for about 20 minutes in the pan before scoring into roughly 2 inch squares. Leave (if you can) to cool completely in the pan before serving.
These bars are lovely, light and a little crumbly but they do stand up quite well to the lunch box test.
I may try replacing a small amount of the sugar with golden syrup next time which would make for a sturdier bar and if I have any success with this I'll let you know.
I'd be pretty confident that these would be just as good using strawberry jam or apple sauce in place of the raspberry, or even (nominess) bramble jelly, oh I wish I'd had bramble jelly. Next time!
I'd love to hear any other variations on this recipe that have worked for you. Its such a good base for just about anything.
Thanks MTM for the original inspiration.