These cookie bars are simple to make and delicious for breakfast, snacktime, or dessert! Change them by filling with different flavor jams: red plum, cherry, apricot, raspberry, blueberry, or whatever you like!
Jam-filled cookie bars:
1 cup (8 oz / 2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk, or 2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups toasted sliced almonds (optional...nuts lend a nice crunch! You could also use chopped peanuts for a PB&J-style bar!)
1½ cups red plum (or other fruit) jam
Heat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9"x13" baking pan.
Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl, and use a hand held mixer on high speed to cream them until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and egg yolk (or two eggs) and almond extract.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then mix or stir in the almonds.
Use your fingers to press half of the dough into the bottom of the baking pan.
Put the jam in a small bowl and loosen it up with a small whisk or a fork (this will make it spread more easily). Spread the jam evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1/4-inch border around the edges.
Sprinkle the remaining dough over the jam, all the way to the edges of the pan, and then press on it gently to form the top layer. (it's ok if you don't have enough left to completely cover the top; just sprinkle it around, press it in a bit, and enjoy the color of the jam peeking through the dough on top!)
Bake until the top is golden and the edges are starting to brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, and then cut into whatever size bars you like and serve. The bars will keep for at least three or four days at room temperature, or you can freeze them. You can wrap them individually in plastic, then toss them all in a zipper freezer bag.
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