Whole Wheat & Oatmeal Marmalade Bars

Marmalade Bars stacked

These Whole Wheat & Oatmeal Marmalade Bars are absolutely fabulous ~ the tender whole wheat, brown sugar, and oatmeal crust sets off the homemade marmalade beautifully!

Whole Wheat Maramalade Bars

I know high baking season runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas, but I secretly love January baking best.  There’s no schedule to keep, and no pressure to please anyone but myself.  Maybe my husband, just a little, but mostly me.  There is so much busy work to attend to in January, and a little indulgence like these whole grain marmalade squares makes getting out of bed and getting to it just a bit more enticing.  Nothing fancy, or decadent, in fact I’d consider these squares to be pretty wholesome, I used a combination of whole wheat and oat flours, along with rolled oats for texture.  We always have a glut of marmalade in the house after Christmas.  Living in California there are lots of folks with backyard citrus trees and giving marmalade away is a tradition.  Marmalades can run the gamut from dark, and bitter to bright and sweet, I’ve mixed together the remains from a couple of different batches to fill my bars.  If you don’t have any homemade you can buy wonderful marmalades, including authentic Scottish imports which come in beautiful jars — I keep my teaspoon measures in an empty one by the stove.

Marmalade and Oat Bars

January baking is almost always breakfast friendly.  It’s sweetness is tempered with fruit, nuts, and whole grains. It’s usually only one story high, more often crumbled and crusted than frosted.    January baking is pleasure without the guilt.  Theoretically, anyway, I don’t know what your guilt threshold is for sweets, but mine is set pretty high.

Maemalade Bars prep

These bars turned out even better than I expected, considering I’m not a huge lover of marmalade itself.  The crust has a graham crackery flavor and is very soft, not crunchy.  The slight bitter edginess of the marmalade goes really well with the brown sugar and oats.  They’re luscious, really, they’re going on my favorites list.

Marmalade Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup marmalade

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 375F
  2. Cream the butter and shortening with the sugar. Make sure to smooth out any lumps in the brown sugar. Beat in the extracts, and then the egg.
  3. Mix the flours with the oats, baking powder, and salt, stirring to combine them well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend until a soft dough forms.
  5. Take just over half of the dough and press it into the bottom of a 9x9 square baking pan. I line mine with parchment with overlapping edges so I can lift it out easily for cutting. Drop the dough in blobs all over the bottom of the pan, and then use your fingers to spread it out. Don't fuss over it, just try and cover the surface of the pan. Use a little extra dough if you need to, and don't compact it too much.
  6. Spread the marmalade over the top.
  7. Take the remaining dough and, using your fingers, take small amounts at a time and flatten it slightly with your fingers and lay it out over the marmalade. It doesn't have to cover it completely, and it will spread as it bakes. It's ok to have some marmalade peeking through.
  8. Bake about 30 minutes until just starting to turn golden around the edges. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Notes

You can use any jam you like for these bars, but one that's not too sweet, with a chunky texture works best. This recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/marmalade-bars/

Marmalade Bars stacked

January is a mixed bag for me.  I have to face all the work I’ve let pile up over the holidays… file, organize, clean, de-clutter, and make doctor appointments.  January is all about taking care of the business of life.  But it’s also my birthday month.  And there’s always January baking to look forward to.

 

You can find oat flour in most large supermarkets, health food stores, and online.  I highly recommend keeping a bag in your cupboards for baking.  I often mix it with white or wheat flours and I love the tender crumb and oaty flavor it gives to everything from breads and muffins to pancakes and desserts.

13 Comments

  • Reply
    Meg
    February 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Is it possible to substitute something else for the Crisco? I don’t ever use it for baking and was wondering if I could avoid buying a whole container for just this recipe, which really sounds awesome! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Just substitute butter, Meg!

  • Reply
    CakePants
    January 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    These remind me a bit of peach cobbler, but in bar form! I bet they taste great!

  • Reply
    Kari@Loaves n Dishes
    January 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I open a jar of marmalade, and then because I rarely eat toast, it sits in the refrigerator forever; now I have something to do with the remaining marmalade! Thank-you!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    January 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I love January baking too. These bars look fantastic – I can never resist jam and a crumble topping!

  • Reply
    grace
    January 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    this is probably the best possible way to consume whole wheat flour. what a refreshing treat for the dead of winter!

  • Reply
    cheri
    January 2, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I will be making these soon, they look delicious.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 3, 2014 at 7:52 am

      You’ll love them, Cheri. The crust is really special, I’m going to make another version of these soon.

  • Reply
    Liz
    January 2, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I love making small batch marmalades and combine citrus with cranberries or huckleberries (meyer lemon and huckleberry is wonderful!).

    Re oat flour…I have a Vita-mix and make oat flour from my organic thick rolled oats – as much as I need when I need it. Not sure if it is any savings over buying oat flour, BUT it is pretty easy and I keep a stock of rolled oats so whizzing those into flour is one less thing to keep in stock.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      First, I’m jealous of your Vita-mix, and that’s a great point about making your own flour, I’ve done that with my ancient Cuisinart processor and it works well. Second, Meryer lemon and huckleberry marmalade sounds incredible…I need that recipe, and I need to find huckleberries !!

      • Reply
        Liz
        January 3, 2014 at 9:04 am

        re the V-Mix…I made a decision nearly 7 years ago that I’d rather have the Vita-Mix than a stand mixer and I’ve not been sorry! Counter space is the main issue. I use the Vita-Mix 1-4 times a day. I do need to upgrade my hand mixer, though!

        Anyway, I use a Cranberry Marmalade recipe I’ve had for years and same ratios for lemon-hucks. If you don’t find a recipe you like, email me and I’ll send it on. I’m guessing this would work with blueberries since it works with cranberries, but I freeze local hucks.

  • Reply
    Eileen
    January 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    This is the kind of recipe that nudges me toward making homemade jams of all kinds. Such a great way to eat them!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      I’m thinking the same thing.

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