Richly sweetened with all-fruit preserves, these vegan jam bars are an enjoyable treat for kids and adults alike. Whether you’re looking for anytime snack or a grab-and-go breakfast, these easy jam bars will appeal to your sweet tooth. Use natural all-fruit preserves to keep the sugar content on the modest side.
Oats, walnuts, and whole wheat pastry flour (or light spelt flour) make this a good-for-you treat. Enjoy with sliced apples or pears in the cooler months, and with fresh berries in summer.
The scoop on whole wheat pastry flour
Any whole grain flour, whether hard-wheat bread flour or soft-wheat pastry flour, is better for you because it retains the bran and germ of the whole wheat berry—fiber, vitamins, and minerals are left intact. Whole wheat pastry flour is milled from soft winter wheat, which has a lower gluten content than whole wheat bread flour.
Bread flour and pastry flours aren’t interchangeable; each does its job in a specific way. Pastry flour has a finer, more powdery texture than bread flour, making it good for cookies, muffins, cakes, and other pastries. It’s also wonderful in pancakes, waffles, and savory pies.
If you find that your palate needs to adjust, use a mixture of whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached white flour. After a while, you may find, as I did, that you prefer the pastry flour straight.
Whole wheat pastry flour—often organic—is easy to find in natural foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets. Keep in mind that whole wheat pastry flour (and other whole-grain flours) are more perishable than refined flours, so if you don’t use it up quickly, keep it refrigerated.
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or light spelt flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 to 3 tablespoons plain or vanilla plant-based milk
- 1 tablespoon safflower or other neutral oil
- 3/4 to 1 cup all-fruit preserves
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 cup finely ground almonds or walnuts
- 3 tablespoons natural granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons safflower or other neutral oil
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Combine the first 3 (dry) ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir together.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce, oil, and enough plant-based milk to make a smooth, stiff batter. Stir together until the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed.
- Spread the batter into a lightly oiled 8-x-8-inch baking pan with the help of a baking spatula.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully spread the preserves evenly over the batter, using the baking spatula.
- In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the streusel topping and stir together until evenly coated with the oil. Sprinkle evenly over the preserves, and pat down gently.
- Bake for 15 minutes longer, or until the topping is golden.
- Allow to cool in the pan until at room temperature. Cut in half across, then into four equal sections in the opposite direction to get 8 bars; or you can cut into 9 equal squares.
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