I spent last weekend in Richvale, California for my cousin’s wedding. My mom grew up there. It’s a small rice farming town where quite a few of my cousins are carrying on the rice farming business. I was able to visit with a lot of family this weekend, many of whom remember me as being “just this big!” the last time they saw me. The last day we were there we had brunch with my mom’s cousin’s family and a few other people. Their daughter is a senior in high school and we started talking about baking. She said one of her favorite things to make were these jam bars that had granola on top. I asked her where she found the recipe and she said it was from a Barefoot Contessa cookbook. As luck would have it I was able to find the recipe on food network’s website. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Emily! It is truly amazing.
You can easily make these bars your own by using your favorite jam, your favorite granola or your favorite nuts. I used Hero black cherry jam, an almond vanilla granola and sliced almonds.
These come together quickly, bake up beautifully and, once cooled, slice up wonderfully. The crust is thick enough to keep them sturdy. I cut my 8-inch square pan into 9 squares, but that makes for a hefty bakery-sized serving. Which is really fine by me! But you can cut the pan into 12 squares or cut larger squares into smaller ones after taking them out of the pan.
Beat butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) until combined. And in the vanilla and beat.
Whisk the flour and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the butter and mix on low until it just comes together. Remove about 1 to 1/2 cups of the dough. Pat the remaining dough into the bottom and about 1/4 way up the sides of an 8-inch square pan.
Spread the jam onto the crust, but not onto the edges.
Mix the reserved dough with the granola then evenly spread over the jam. Sprinkle with the almonds.
Granola is one of those foods I often see on lists with titles like, “Foods you Thought Were Good for You!” And I guess it’s true that many store bought granolas are full of sugar and other not-too-healthy ingredients. But if you make your own, then you have control over what goes into it. I’m not saying this is perfect health food or that it is “good for you”. But I do know that it is delicious.
This is my favorite granola. I brought a bag of it to Christmas with my family this year and everyone loved it. I’m pretty sure it was gone in just a couple of days. You can change the nuts and fruits in this to personalize it to your taste. If you like chocolate in yours, I’d suggest dark or semi sweet chips. My favorite combination is pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, cherries and blueberries.
I like to eat this granola on top of some plain yogurt. Or I’ll mix a couple spoonfuls of it in with my Kashi cereal to make things a little more interesting.
This recipe came from a Bon Appetit magazine, probably 5 or 6 years ago. Since I started making it I’ve changed some things, but one thing I haven’t changed is the special instruction to store it in the freezer. By doing this the moisture from the fruit doesn’t soften the granola. I’ve never not done this. When I’m bringing the granola somewhere I keep the granola and the fruit separate until I find a freezer. If you’re brave enough to try storing it at room temp, let me know how it goes. Enjoy!
My Favorite Granola
Adapted from Bon Appetit
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Stir together oats, coconut, oil, sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt and nuts in a large bowl.
Spread mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking pan. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, between 25 and 30 minutes. Watch carefully after 20 minutes. You do not want it to get too dark.
Remove the granola from the oven and set the pan on a rack to cool, the granola will be soft. It will harden up as it cools.
After it is cool, stir in the fruit. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.