Easily customize the flavor of these jam bars by picking your favorite jam, jelly, or fruit spread! These bars feature a cinnamon-spiced crumb topping and are perfect for using up small amounts of jam taking up space in the fridge.
Recently it’s been my mission to organize the fridge/freezer. It’s hard to tell what’s what when the billion condiment jars all look the same and half the packages in the freezer are unmarked and foil-wrapped. To be honest I also need to hold myself accountable because I’m the queen of stashing leftovers in the freezer and promptly forgetting about them. Such is life.
But! I’ve been (mostly) enjoying the mystery finds and repurposing them into our meals and snacks. Kind of like grocery shopping in my own house, with the only bummer having to factor in time for whatever it is to thaw. That all works for the freezer, but there’s only so much jam on toast a girl can eat before she’s burnt out.
Enter, jam bars! This easy recipe is just the dessert for using up odd amounts of jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit spreads. Use all the same flavor or as many as you like to bake multiple flavors at once.
One of the great parts of this recipe for jam bars is that the bottom layer and top crumb mixture are one and the same. Just over half of the mixture is densely pressed into the bottom of the pan, with the remainder crumbled over top to form a delicious crumb layer.
You guys know how I feel about crumbs. ♥
Obviously you can keep things simple and use one type of jam or jelly here – no need to make things more complicated than they need to be. But with the multitude of quarter- or half-full jam and jelly jars taking up valuable fridge space I knew I wanted to use up as many as I could. I fit four different types comfortably in these jam bars – fig, raspberry, strawberry, and grape – and we enjoyed each one! You’ll see each flavor in the photo below, starting with fig on the top left and continuing around clockwise.
I spread about a half-cup of each jam in equally-sized strips on top of the bottom layer, and then made sure I didn’t cover up each ‘seam’ entirely with crumbs. This way I knew exactly where to cut between the flavors to result in four different types of jam bars, yielding four pieces of each kind.
Recipe notes for these jam bars:
- I used half all-purpose and half white whole wheat flour here to add to the heartiness and chewiness. You can certainly use all all-purpose flour if you like.
- When it comes to the jams, any flavor jam, jelly, preserves, or fruit spread should do. I recommend not using low- or reduced-sugar varieties, as I found the sweetness with the regular varieties rounded these jam bars out to be a satisfying dessert. Reduced-sugar grape jam is something I enjoy on a PB+J, but it was a touch not-sweet-enough for my taste in one version of these bars.
- The cinnamon flavor is subtle here, so if you’re a huge cinnamon fan feel free to add a little more. I recommend not increasing the amount of nutmeg though. Nutmeg has a tendency to be a little strong in baked goods and take over the flavor.
- These bars are great to make ahead of time, because you’ll want them to be COMPLETELY cool before slicing. Make them in the morning and let them sit! This helps with slicing and having the bars hold together without getting jam everywhere.
Pick Your Flavor Crumb Topping Jam Bars
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 tbsp)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cups jam in total
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish and set aside.
- Add flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg to a mixing bowl. Add butter and cut in using a pastry blender until the mixture is very crumbly, with crumbs about the size of a pencil eraser or smaller. Don't worry if a few are larger - it's not a big deal.
- Beat egg well in a separate bowl and then stir into the dough until just combined.
- Firmly press a little more than half of the dough into the prepared baking dish, taking care to form a cohesive, even layer throughout.
- Add jam in an even layer over top.
- Break up and crumble remaining dough over top of the jam layer.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the jam is slightly bubbling and the top layer of crumbs is golden-brown.
- Let everything cool in the pan until it's completely cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar (optional) and slice into bars.
Dough recipe adapted from allrecipes