Spring is a magical time of year! With the Easter holiday and new growth blossoming outside, it is hard not to feel refreshed. Though the weather has been cold and dreary lately, I am one of the few people who actually likes it because it is perfect for running outdoors and baking! If running isn’t your thing, I have an amazing recipe for you to enjoy on these chilly days!
Over Easter weekend, I had some awesome visitors—my sisters Jolene and Olivia plus my nephew Brady. We had a busy weekend of fun that included prom dress shopping for Olivia (yay!), running, rollerblading, hiking, singing, and of course baking and eating (photos are below)! For a sweet brunch treat, my sister Jolene set to work making a recipe I had never tried before: Strawberry Oat Bars. I was completely on board since she is an exceptional baker, and I love desserts made with oats. Let’s just say these bars were love at first bite and disappeared rather quickly!
These bars are my JAM (pun intended), with a delightfully chewy and tender texture. They are studded with pecans and oats, which are complemented with rich flavor from butter and sweetness from the preserves and brown sugar. Jolene was extra creative and made half the pan with apricot preserves and the other half with strawberry preserves. I couldn’t pick a favorite because they were both so good! The strawberry bars are featured since there was greater color contrast compared to the apricot. I look forward to trying these bars with other flavors of jams and preserves, too!
Here we are a fun Easter hike. Jolene is on the left (and my nephew Brady is far off in the background)!
Strawberry Oat Bars
Recipe from Jolene Messerly
Crumb Base & Topping
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 ¾ cups old-fashioned oats
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cups strawberry preserves or jam (or fruit of choice)*
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter, egg, and vanilla and mix until crumbly. Gently press half of the crumb mixture into the prepared pan. Carefully, spread the fruit preserves over the crust, leaving a small border around all edges. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top of the preserves.
Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool before cutting.
*Note: Preserves should be used in place of jam if you want larger fruit pieces.