Blueberry-Oatmeal Crunch Bars

Blueberry-Oatmeal Crunch Squares

Year 2002. We are in Los Angeles, just moved here, newly married. One day our family friend Jim Porter walks into our apartment holding a plate with something looking absolutely delicious. Jim made oatmeal bars for us! The bars were so good. Soft, full of oats, with luscious preserves spread in-between.

I loved the bars so much that I asked  Jim for the recipe. He graciously shared it with me. Jim’s recipe is very similar to what I later found in William’s Sonoma baking book, and the only slight difference is the ingredient amounts. I will share one of those recipes with you.

Oatmeal

Sadly Jim is no more. It’s been years. But every time I bake these bars, I remember Jim proudly handing me that plate with his homemade creations and my face beaming at the prospect of savoring them with a cup of tea. Thank you, Jim, for the sweet memories. And your bars were the best!

Blueberry-Oatmeal Crunch Squares

Blueberry-Oatmeal Crunch Bars
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking

You can also sprinkle walnut chunks on top of the preserves, if you wish. They go particularly well with apricot preserves. Also, you can serve these bars warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

Ingredients:

1 +3/4 cups all-purpose flour (9 oz / 280 g)
1  +1/2 cups (4+ 1/2 oz /140 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (7 oz /220 g) firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (8 oz / 230 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) pieces
1 cup blueberry jam (can substitute any preserves/jam you have, such as cherry, strawberry, raspberry, apricot, etc.)

Method:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 325F (165C). Butter a 9-inch (23-cm) square baking pan.

In  a large bowl, stir together the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon until blended. Using a pastry blender or a knife, cut in the butter until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas. (If you have a food processor you can combine the flour, toast, and sugar and plus 2 to 3 times until blended. Then add butter and pulse 8-10 times until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas.)

Remove 2 cups of the crumb mixture and set aside. Press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom and 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the prepared pan.

Drop tablespoons of the jam evenly over the crust, then spread it gently with the back of the spoon to cover the crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the jam layer. Do not press onto the sprinkled crumbs.

Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool until firm, about 2 hours. Using  a  large, sharp knife, cut into 25 small squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Blueberry-Oatmeal Crunch Squares

Spring is Here with a Giveaway - Organic Tea! WINNERS Announced!

Romanza - Organic Tea

Spring is in the air! And a spring themed giveaway is on AZ Cookbok!

I am announcing a super awesome giveaway to celebrate this beautiful time of the year with you and also to thank you for supporting my blog throughout many seasons, spring or winter:)

As of recently I’ve become a fan of teas of all sorts. My love for tea is only natural. I come from a tea-drinking country where people take pride in tea ceremonies and drink tea day and night (and it doesn’t affect our sleep at all!). We mostly drink pure strong black tea. Here in the US, I’ve become enamored with teas I’d never heard of before – green, read, oolong and flavored tea blends, oh  my!

But…I’d been on the lookout for the best quality tea out there for the longest time until I finally discovered  Tea Amore a year ago at a local event where they had their stand.

Tea Amore is now the only tea company I buy tea from and I trust. They know what they are doing, they love what they are doing and they offer only the best quality and value to their customers. They blend the best tea I’ve ever tried so far and their flavor combinations are out of this world. Pure, subtle, exotic, interesting. Most of the company’s teas are organic. The ingredients blended in with the tea for added flavor are all natural. Guys, I am not paid to say all these nice things about Tea Amore  - I love their tea and I believe good things deserve to be shared with everybody.

From my conversation with the founder and the staff of Tea Amore I learned so much about their tea selection and blending. And here’s what left me speechless! Creating one single tea blend is a 22-step process that can take as long as 2 months to complete. What a dedication! You can see only a few of their many tea blends in the picture below (snapped them at the event, excuse the weird angles).

Tea Amore

Guess what? Tea Amore is generously giving away 1-ounce packets of Romanza tea (1 packet is enough to brew up to 15 cups of tea, or even more depending on how strong you like your tea) to 8  AZ Cookbook readers from any part of the word (isn’t it amazing!). All you have to do is enter the giveaway right here on the blog for the chance to be one of the lucky winners!

About Romanza Tea Blend: 

Romanza blend is organic black tea infused with sensuous vanilla, candy hearts and pomegranate (picture 1). Milk and sugar can be added to make this tea taste even more splendid.  Romanza blend brings the boldness and an enchanting aroma to the new season.

And now the Giveaway Rules:

1. Answer the following question(s) in the comments section after this post (please only one comment per reader):

What kind of tea do you like to drink? What are your favorite flavored tea combinations?

2. Like AZ Cookbook and Tea Amore on Facebook (if you have a facebook account).

3. Share this post with your friends on social media (see buttons after the post).

4. The giveaway ends Monday, March 10 at 9 PM PST. 8 lucky winners will be selected via random number generator and will be announced in this post. Hurry up and enter!

Good luck to everybody! Let the spring fun begin!

tea1

Winners Here!

Thank you for all your comments, guys! They were very interesting. Aaaand, here are the lucky 8 winners, generated by the true random number generator.

Winners, please email  your full name and mailing address to feride at azcookbook dot com so we can send you the tea. Please respond by March 13 the latest. If we do not hear from you, we’ll have to pick another winner instead of you. (Those of you who did not win this time – please do not get discouraged. Stay tuned for our future tea giveaways! There will always be a chance for you to win! Thank you for participating.)

1. Samiya

2. Ibrahim Armagan

3. Nash Ashumoff

4. Zuleykha A.

5. Shahla

6. Bonny

7. Rose

8. Dale

tea giveaway winners

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