The taste of summer! A fresh berry filling, sweetened with jam to intensify the fruity flavours, oozes between layers of buttery, oaty, crumbly goodness. These berry bars make the perfect snack or dessert. Pack them on your next picnic or serve them after a summer grilling meal with a scoop of ice cream for a delightful finish that will leave you smiling and smacking your lips.
It's berry season! Gardens, fruit stands, markets, and grocery stores are bursting with stacks of jewel-coloured berry baskets. Our haskap berries are already finished, the strawberry patch produced bowls of lovely sweet little strawberries and the raspberry bushes are loaded with juicy berries right now. We've been picking saskatoon berries and I've been busy making jam and juice from them.
If you fondly remember those old-fashioned date bars (a.k.a. matrimonial bars), you'll love this lightened-up fruity version. Use fresh or frozen berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (or even rhubarb or other fruits) sweetened with berry jam instead of sugar to amp up the flavour. It's a berry explosion in your mouth! The crumbly oat layers hold together just enough to make these tasty bars convenient to serve in smaller squares for tasty snacks, or cut them a bit larger and serve them as an easy summer dessert with a scoop of ice cream on the side.
These bars have become our new summer baking staple. It seems like I'm making a new batch almost every week and we are devouring them. If your sour cherry trees are producing, you might like this version, Evans Cherry Ginger Oat Crumble Bars, too.
Other Berry-licious Treats
If you've got an abundance of berries, why not try some of these tasty berry recipes?
- Zabaglione with Mixed Fresh Berries
- Strawberry Flip Fruit Dip
- Stawberry Milk
- Ruby Fruit Salad with Pomegranate Glaze
- Chia Pudding with Strawberries
- Saskatoon Rolls or Saskatoon Cobbler
- Prairie Mess (Eton Mess with Rhubarb and Saskatoons)
- Strawberry Meringue Pie
- Cranachan (Scottish Raspberry & Whipped Cream Dessert)
- Mangoes and Blueberries in Yogurt Coconut Cream
- Blueberry Breakfast Pudding
- Blueberry Mayonnaise
- Blueberry Sangria
- Jicama, Fennel and Blueberry Salad
Or if you have extra jam to use up, these Easy Jam Tarts are sensational.
Which Fruits or Berries Work for These Bars?
Any berries will be fantastic, but you can also use other fruits. Match the fruits to the jam for an extra intense burst of flavour, or mix them with complementary jams for a fruit salad effect. For example, to match them use cut-up strawberries and strawberry jam, blueberries and blueberry jam . . . . you get the picture.
To mix them, get creative: try sliced rhubarb with strawberry jam, diced peaches with blueberry jam, raspberries with currant jelly . . . let your imagination (and what's in your pantry) be your guide.
Note: If using saskatoon berries (which are a little firmer and drier) add an extra tablespoon of lemon juice plus 4 tablespoons/1/4 cup water. If you're using particularly juicy berries (like blackberries or raspberries) increase the cornstarch to 2 tablespoons.
Easy Peasy Jammy Berry Bars
First, cook up the fruity berry filling so it can cool slightly while you make the oat crumble. Use fresh or frozen berries and the jam of your choice. Toss with a bit of cornstarch and a dash of lemon juice to bring out the flavours. Cook it just til it thickens, then let it cool slightly.
Then, mix together the rolled oats, flour, butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon with a mixer until crumbly.
Pack half of the mixture into a small square baking pan.
Spread on that luscious fruit filling.
Crumble on the remaining oat topping, and press it down gently to even out the top.
Bake until the filling bubbles up around the edges and the oaty mixture becomes golden brown.
Let cool, cut into squares, and enjoy!
These Berry Bars are sooooo good - fruity and jammy, buttery and oaty. You'll be glad you tried them. And the best thing is, you can make a new version every week with whatever's in season and in the pantry!
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Jammy Berry Squares
for the berry filling:
- 3 cups (400gms) berries, fresh or frozen, (cut-up if using strawberries)
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup (150gms) jam of choice, to match the berries or complement them
for the crust and crumble layer:
- 2 cups (200gms) old-fashioned large-flake rolled oats
- 1 cup (140gms) gluten-free flour blend (or regular flour for non-gluten-free) link for my gluten-free flour recipe
- ¾ cup (170gms) salted butter
- ⅔ cup (130gms) brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (50gms) chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
- Preheat oven to 400℉ (170℃). Grease an 8x8-inch (20x20cm) square baking pan.
make the berry filling:
- In a saucepan, toss the berries with the cornstarch. Add the lemon juice and jam and stir to combine.
- Cook the berries over medium-high heat, stirring often, just until they come to a boil and the juices thicken up. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the crust.
make the crust and crumble topping:
- Combine the oats, flour, butter, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low speed until combined and crumbly. Alternately, mix by hand with a wooden spoon or pastry cutter.
- Stir in the nuts, if using.
- Dump half of the oat crumbles into the greased pan and press down firmly to make a bottom crust.
- Pour the slightly cooled filling over the crust and spread it out evenly.
- Sprinkle the remaining half of the oat crumbles evenly over the filling and press them lightly with your palm to make the top even and smoothed out.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling up a bit around the edges and the oat crumbles are lightly golden.
- Let cool in the pan, then cut into squares (9 squares for dessert portions, or 12-16 bars for snack-sized portions).
- Serves 9 to 16.