By Rose McAvoy
Forget the flowery language. Forget waxing poetic. I’m just going to level with you. This Honey Lemon Apple Jam is THE BEST JAM I HAVE EVER TASTED! Whew! I feel better.
Now to make a short story longer… Last Sunday I took The Little Helping to idyllic Oxbow Farm near Carnation. We had a two-fold mission. Attend the annual Fall Hoe Down and be enthusiastic customers for our friends James and Venessa who were debuting their food truck, How Pickle Got Out of a Jam. (I am going to see if they will share their pumpkin soup recipe – it was perfect for the crisp day.)
James and Venessa’s neighbor was a cooking demonstration with a notably sparse crowd. While sneaking a peek into the simmering dutch oven I had the pleasure of meeting Jeanne Sauvage, who writes The Art of Gluten Free Baking. She was vigorously juicing lemons and invited us to watch her make Honey Lemon Apple Jam, a recipe created by Marissa of Food in Jars. I was a total wet blanket. I told Jeanne that our family doesn’t really eat jam because it has too much sugar for my taste and while I had a huge pile of apples they were all earmarked to become apple sauce. Yep that’s me, Miss Mary Sunshine. Sheesh!
She was so kind. While she stirred we moved off the subject of jam and on to the subject of her newly published cookbook, “Gluten Free Baking for the Holidays.” At that time the book was only a few days old and I got to thumb through a brand spanking new copy. It is gorgeous; anyone looking for baking inspiration would be lucky to have this in their cookbook collection.
You may or may not know that jam takes a little while to do its thing. While it cooked, The Little Helping and I went off in search of activities that were more his speed. We explored the event area and he played for a long time in the impressive teaching garden. Ultimately our growling stomachs lead us back toward the food. We returned to the cooking demonstration just in time to accept spoons full of finished jam.
I expected something called Honey Lemon Apple Jam would be good. I did not expect to have to stop myself before shouting “SHAZAM!” in the midst of a crowd of strangers. The jam was like a lemony caramel apple. When The Little Helping licked the first spoon clean and asked for another taste I made sure to take a “mommy tax” sample before passing it along.
The following week held many distractions but I kept thinking about that jam! There were lemons on my counter taunting me. The barely touched apple pile whispered every time I went into the garage. Worst of all I could not shake the idea of cookies. Oh yeah, cookies. The buttery kind that make perfect nests for dollops of sticky sweet jam.
By the end of the week I caved. The lemons won, the apples won, and the cookies? Yes there were cookies, with butter, but not too much. I came up with a sweet and crumbly compromise to appease both my cravings and my sensibility.
Honey Lemon Apple Jam Crumble Bars
This is a modified version of a traditional oat crumble cookie. The crumble features lightly buttery and pleasantly toasty oats perked up with a dose of sweet spices. Sandwiched between the crusts is the true star of the show, a sticky layer of Honey Lemon Apple Jam from the recipe on Food in Jars. These are heavy on the crumble and best enjoyed leaning over a napkin with a cup of coffee or tea close at hand. Scoop up the crumbs left in the pan to sprinkle over yogurt. [Gluten free modifications provided in brackets]
Prep time 10 minutes Cook time: 35 – 40 minutes
Yield: 12 bar cookies
1 c. all purpose flour [1/2 c. gf all purpose flour mix, 1/2 c. millet flour]
1 c. rolled oats [gluten free oats]
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
(1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum for GF only)
4 Tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter*
3/4 c. Honey Lemon Apple Jam (see below for recipe modifications) other jams may be substituted
Optional – butter flavored non-stick spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking pan with a strip of parchment paper that covers the bottom and goes up two sides (helps bars come cleanly out of the pan).
In a medium mixing bowl – whisk together all the dry ingredients. Use a fork to work in the butter turning the mixture into a coarse sand.
Pour 2/3 of the mixture into the baking pan and press down firmly to form the bottom crust.
Use a spoon to drop blobs of jam all over the bottom crust. Gently mush the blobs to cover the crust being very careful not to disturb the crust.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 mixture over the jam layer. Pat the top crust into the jam.
Place in preheated oven for 35 -40 minutes. If desired remove from oven at 30 minutes and spray top crust with butter flavored spray. Return to the oven for remaining 5 -10 minutes.
Allow bars to cool before cutting and serving.
Approximate Nutrition Information (may very due to choice of flours and/or jam): 142 calories, 4.7 g. fat, 27 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 2 g. protein, PP = 4
*These bars may push the crumble envelope for some tastes. If you prefer less crumbly bars 2 to 4 additional tablespoons of butter may be added recipe. This addition will significantly affect the nutrition information provided with the recipe.
Honey Lemon Apple Jam – modified ingredient list.
14 cups of apples chopped into small pieces
Juice of 3 very large lemons – approximately 1 1/4 cups
1 cup honey
3 cups of coconut or turbinado sugar (granulated but brown in color)
1 package of pectin
zest of the same 3 very large lemons (use your microplane!)
Please refer to the method provided by Food in Jars for making and preserving the jam.
Approximate Nutrition Information for modified jam per 1 Tablespoon: 26 calories, 0 g. fat, 7 g. carbs, .3 g. fiber, 0 g. protein, PP = 1
Read more from Rose McAvoy at Our Lady of Second Helpings.