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.
When I came across this recipe I practically ran to the kitchen to begin making it. I took out a stick of butter, 2 eggs and buttermilk to bring them to room temperature. Since my little guy was asleep, I couldn’t make it to the store to get the one ingredient I lacked…fresh peaches. So I used…canned peaches. Did you just cringe? I’m embarrassed, especially when there are fresh, juicy peaches available about a mile from my house. While I am sure fresh peaches would have been better, the cake still turned out wonderfully. That means you can make this in the dead of winter, when peaches aren’t so abundant.
Thanks to Ina Garten, one of my favorite Food Network people, for this recipe. Her recipe calls for sour cream, which I did not have. I substituted 3/4 cup of buttermilk and 1/3 cup softened butter. I think it would have been fine to use 1 cup of buttermilk without the additional butter.
This cake can be eaten for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or for breakfast. Enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the all the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture.
Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.
Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.