Ohio Blueberry Oatmeal Almond Bars

There’s no place like home-especially when you’re an only child and you know nothing but bottles of champagne, over-appreciative parents, and your favorite growing-up meals await you. It’s my dad’s b-day this weekend so a surprise visit seemed in order.

Me + Papa

To celebrate Friday night, in the typical Stansbury fashion, we ate like it was going out of style, with each of us choosing what we most wanted to eat. Papa Bear, of course, got massive quantities of Skyline Chili; Maman Bear ate her pear salad; and Baby Bear got grilled hot dogs with cheese and sautéed potatoes (did I mention I ate this religiously as a child? And that no one makes potatoes like Miss Maman? Between poor frying timing and general laziness, I don’t even bother trying at home).

And nothing says class like eating random cheap food with pricey champagne! That’s how this family rolls.

And though I promised my family I wouldn’t spend my whole time here baking multi-tiered cakes like last time (my mom suspiciously sounded way too happy when I told her this), I did think it would be nice to make some simple bars for the birthday boy, who has a seasonal jonsing for blueberries.

This recipe is made with my mom’s fresh, and practically sugar-free, blueberry preserves, but any berry preserves will do. Nice, ripe berries are also in order-no tough or overly-bitter berries, please. The almond is not overwhelming like in some recipes, and the brown sugar and oatmeal are always a delicious combination.

From my eccentric household to yours, the Stansburys wish you happy eating 😉 And stay tuned for more Ohio baking-it seems crêpes, coconut-lime cake, and other adventures are in store this week.

[Makes approximately 12 bars. Adapted from Betty Crocker]

Equipment:

  • NOTHING SPECIAL! [A first for Baking Things. Hallelujah]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 Tbl. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  • 15-20 oz. blueberry or blackberry (any kind of berry or fruit, really) preserves
  • 1 container fresh blueberries or blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 glass baking dish with butter or cooking spray (I used both).

Miss Maman buttering

In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and beans from the vanilla bean. Work in butter pieces with fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in almonds.

Me with sugar...of course

Press half of mix in the bottom of the baking dish. Take preserves and put in a bowl. Stir preserves with almond extract. Spread preserve mix on top of oat/almond mix in the dish. Top with berries. Sprinkle the remaining oat mix over the top and pat down lightly.

Bake 32-35 min. or until golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack at least 45 min. Cut into 12 squares.

My dog, Beau, also enjoyed them, naturally. This smile is post-consumption 😉

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