Condley: Jam bars

Published 2:00 pm Monday, November 14, 2022

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By Sarah Condley


I was preparing some desserts for our church youth group when I ran across this recipe (and one other I’ll tell you about next week). The recipe was written on notebook paper, and the handwriting looked like something I probably wrote in high school.

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I had all the ingredients on hand and got busy preparing this treat. Since there would be a layer of jam sticking to the side of the pan, I opted to line the baking dish with parchment paper, making it easier to get the bars out of the pan. I greased the bottom of the pan, added the parchment, and then lightly greased the parchment paper.

After combining the dry ingredients, I cut in the softened butter with a pastry blender and then stirred in the lemon zest and egg.

I pressed half of the mixture into the pan and then opened the refrigerator, looking for jelly, jam, or preserves. I found a few things and used a store-brand strawberry spread. I slathered it on top of the dough that was in the pan and then sprinkled the remaining dough over the top.

The bars cooked for 25 minutes, but the topping wasn’t browning, so I let them bake another 5 minutes. Once out of the oven, I sat them on a cooling rack. When they were thoroughly cooled, I held on to the parchment paper, lifted the giant cookie out, pulled the parchment paper down from the sides, and cut them into bars.

Brad and I had to try them, and I thought they were pretty good but not great; the filling was all that good. Brad thought they were a bit too sweet. My friend Elaine, at church, works with our youth and told me she gave them a try and thought they were good, but she wasn’t crazy about the strawberry filling either. After some discussion, we decided that these would probably be better if I had used better-quality preserves or jam. So I’ve made a note, and the next time I make these, I’ll use my favorite jam or preserves, not just what I have in the refrigerator (by the way, the strawberry spread I used is something Brad had bought for a group of guys he went camping with and they go for the cheap stuff).

These bars will “Nail It” the next time I try them.

Jam Bars


• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

• 1 egg

• 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

• 10 oz jar of strawberry preserves or grape jelly


• Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in egg and the grated lemon zest.

• Press half the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9-inch square pan.  Spread the preserves over the top.  Top the preserves with the remaining crumb mixture.

• Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool and cut into squares.