Posted by: A Part of the Solution | March 14, 2010

Jubilee Bars Now and For the Future

Not all of my guests love chocolate as much as I do. Most people probably don’t love chocolate as much as I do. I respect differences in taste. I want to honor the full spectrum of delicious; whether it accords one-to-one with my desires, or heads off in some other direction all together.

In winter, I like to use dried fruits for a goodly portion of my sweet-tooth ration. I like jams and preserves as well during the post-harvest season. And I like to find ways to incorporate those flavors and textures without allowing people to feel as though they miss the fresh, out-of-season stuff.

I found a good bar recipe, but we’d been having a lot of wheat in the food I was serving. So I switched the wheat almost entirely to oats–grinding them in the food processor. I added more toasted almonds (and I liked that they were already salty). I dissed the brown sugar altogether when I cut the butter by 40% and subbed in a quarter cup of maple syrup for the missing fat and sweetener alike.

The flavor of the finished bar was muy adult. It wasn’t too sweet in the filling. It was plenty crunchy in the topping. It had a lightly sandy texture in the base (like a good shortbread). Everyone had way too many, and no one regretted it.

Dried Cherry Jubilee Bars

10 oz rolled oats

6 oz toasted salted almonds, divided into 1.5 oz and 4.5 oz lots

4 oz vanilla sugar

2 oz wheat flour (or cornstarch if that works better with your diet)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

10 TBSP softened butter

4 TBSP grade B maple syrup

For the Filling:

3 1/2 oz dried cherries

3 TBSP vanilla sugar

1/2 cup wine, any kind–or port or brandy

1 pinch salt

3/4 cup cherry jam

Prepare a 9X13 pan by lining it with foil and greasing the foil and pan thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 375.

Put the rolled oats, 1.5 oz of the toasted almonds and the next six ingredients into a food processor or blender. Grind everything to a fine grain. Add the butter and maple syrup. It should look like wet sand, and then a coarse dough.

Set aside 1.5 cups of this mixture. Press the rest of the dough into the prepared 9X13. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to make the base even and firm. Bake this for 15-20 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown around the edges.

In a microwave safe container, put the dried cherries, the sugar, the salt and the wine. Cover and microwave on high for about six minutes–stirring occasionally. It will be somewhat syrupy when it’s done. Mix the jam in to the dried cherry compote. Spread this evenly over the shortbread base when it has cooked as above.

Pulse the remaining toasted, salted almonds into the reserved shortbread dough. Smoosh this between your fingers in nut sized lumps and distribute over the cherry glop thoroughly. Use up all the topping and finish baking for 25-30 mniutes.

Allow the bars to cool for two hours. Cut into pieces about two centimeters by three. Makes one hundred pieces, but they don’t go very far.

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