One of the things I miss the most about living at home is having access to my mom’s cooking on a regular basis. Not only is she an amazing cook, but it was so nice not to have to worry about doing all the cooking all the time… especially during a period of my life where my idea of putting effort into a meal involved boiling a pot of water and emptying a box of Kraft Dinner into it.
Oh don’t give me that look — we all like to be lazy every once in a while, and KD is delicious. Or at least it was. These days I try to make slightly better choices when it comes to my meals, which means I need to spend a little more time in the kitchen prepping them. Boo.
Fortunately, I only live a short drive away from home and my mom hosts a family dinner every Sunday. Unfortunately, it’s not a completely free ride since I’m usually the one responsible for bringing dessert.
But hey… that I can do.
Especially since it gives me an excuse to indulge my inner child and get my hands dirty…
And, of course, to do some taste-testing…
I’ve always preferred baking to cooking, probably because I have a huge sweet tooth and have an easier time justifying the effort I have to put in when I like the outcome.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good meal, but in my mind, dinner is pretty much just a hurdle I have to get over before I can dive in to dessert. A tasty hurdle, sure, but a hurdle nonetheless. Me?
I’ve got my eye on the prize; with the prize, in this case, being a stack of blueberry oatmeal bars…
Soft and crumbly, buttery and sweet — what more could you ask for? Some chocolate, maybe, but for reasons I can’t quite explain, my normally-raging inner chocoholic was silent while I was getting ready to whip up dessert this past weekend, so I used it as an opportunity to make something a little bit more springy… and I’m still trying to decide if I succeeded or failed.
Despite the fact that blueberries are just starting to come into season, you might notice that this recipe doesn’t call for any fresh ones… which, while being a failure in my attempt to make a seasonal dessert, is a success because it means that this recipe can be enjoyed at any time of the year, and that it saves you the hassle of having to whip up a batch of blueberry filling from scratch.
Have I mentioned I’m a fan of quick and easy? Because this is about as quick and easy as it gets.
One bowl, one pan, one spatula, and your hands — that’s all you need. Well, technically you need an oven and all the ingredients too, but even those are pretty simple ones that most people tend to have on hand anyways.
And the best part? Everyone you feed these to will be singing your praises while you quietly giggle to yourself at how easy your award-winning dessert was to throw together.
The only downside to these bars is that they have a tendency of disappearing when exposed to other human beings, so in addition to having to be quick to ensure you manage to snatch one (or two) for yourself, you’ll probably end up coming home with leftovers from dinner, but no dessert.
Thank goodness it takes all of 10 minutes to whip up another batch!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup blueberry jam
- ¼ cup frozen blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, leaving a few inches of overhang on the sides to allow for easy removal. Spray foil with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and use your hands to rub it into the dry mixture until it is evenly distributed and you are left with coarse crumbs.
- Reserving ½ cup of the oat mixture, transfer the remainder of the mix into your prepared baking pan, using your fingers or a spatula to ensure that it is pressed down tightly and evenly.
- Spoon jam over the surface, and use a spatula or knife to spread it evenly, making sure to only go within ¼ of the edge to prevent the jam from burning. Sprinkle blueberries on top before sprinkling with the reserved oat mixture, pressing down lightly to ensure that it stays in place.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top turns a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool in pan before cutting into bars.