I based this recipe on one for Crosse and Blackwell brand Mincemeat Bars, with slight modifications to the cookie base and crumble topping.
My suspicion was that any type of fruit filling might be good, so I used some of the Rhubarb Compote I created when my friend Lisa let me harvest 10 pounds of rhubarb from the volunteer plant in her yard. (Recipe for Rhubarb Compote is below, and/or referenced in my earlier post for Rhubarb Streusel Bars.) I suspect you could use any type of canned fruit pie filling (cherry, apple, peach, etc.) or get adventurous and use your own homemade fruit compote.
Here is how I made these:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature & soft
- 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
Stir together butter and sugar, until just combined — no need to whip air into the mixture.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Add salt & spices to butter-sugar mixture and stir to combine.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups flour
Add oats and flour to butter-sugar-spice mixture and stir to combine. Separate 2/3 of the mixture out into a parchment-paper-lined (or very well-greased) 9″x13″ baking pan, and press to create an even crust in bottom of pan.
To remaining 1/3 of mixture, add 1/2 cup toasted, chopped nuts (for this recipe, I used almonds — but toasted hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans would also be very good).
Stir 1 heaping Tablespoon of cornstarch into 3 cups of fruit compote (I used Rhubarb Compote — recipe below). Spread over bottom crust.
Optional: sprinkle cinnamon sugar, to taste, over top of fruit compote. I probably used 1/4 cup (1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon stirred into a scant 1/4 cup of sugar). But you could sprinkle more over the fruit filling, if you like things to be a bit sweeter. Or omit this, if you do not want them to be as sweet — esp if serving for breakfast bars (akin to coffee cake).
Crumble the remaining 1/3 of the mixture evenly over the top of the fruit compote. Press slightly into the fruit compote.
Bake for 1 hour (or up to 1 hour + 15 minutes), until fruit filling is slightly bubbling through the crumble topping, or until top crumble top is lightly browned. Allow to cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.
Yield: approximately 48 bars. These freeze beautifully, and can be thawed for about 30 seconds in the microwave, and would be very good, slightly heated, with vanilla ice cream on top.
You may remember from my earlier post Rhubarb Streusel Bars, that my friend Lisa has a volunteer rhubarb plant growing in her yard. When she asked me if I wanted to help myself, I *jumped* at the chance! Freshly-cut, organic rhubarb?!?!? For free?!?!? Yes, please!
I harvested 10 pounds, and once the leaves were trimmed and each stalk was scrubbed, I probably had 7 pounds. I don’t expect you to ever have your hands on 7 pounds of fresh rhubarb, so scale the rhubarb-compote recipe accordingly.
- 7 pounds rhubarb, large diced
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- zest of 3 oranges, minced
Combine in a large stock pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring periodically until you rhubarb starts to exude its own juice and rhubarb starts to simmer. Turn to medium-low heat and allow rhubarb to simmer and break-down into a pink, fiber-ous compote. Taste and adjust sugar-content, if desired. This should taste sweet-tart, and not overly sweet. Allow to cool. You will need 4 cups for this recipe. Freeze the rest, to use in other recipes. Or you could can it to give as gifts of rhubarb compote — very good over oatmeal or granola, over ice cream or vanilla pudding, or just eaten, as is.