Strawberry-Vanilla Jam/Strawberry-Vanilla Jam Shortbread Bars

A Few weeks ago I had a huge container of strawberries that I needed to use up. Chaim suggested another batch of ice pops, but since I’m always looking to try new recipes I wanted to go with something else. I remembered seeing a recipe for Strawberry-Vanilla Jam on one of my favorite blogs, Love and Olive Oil. I decided that would be a perfect-I’d make a big batch of jam, and use it in a dessert for a party we had coming up.

I’d never had homemade jam before, and this was delicious! So much fresher tasting than store-bought! I wasn’t planning on canning any of it (I’ve never canned before and I’m a little nervous about trying it), so I needed to use it up fairly quickly. I used most of it in these shortbread bars, and ate the rest on bread. And, um, some by the spoonful. It was that good.

I went with shortbread bars, rather that some sort of crumble bars, since I love shortbread, and knew that the sweet, buttery cookie would combine wonderfully with the jam. And it did-these were a big hit!

Strawberry-Vanilla Jam

1 quart strawberries

2 cups granulated sugar, divided

2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste

Juice of one lemon

1. Wash, hull, and roughly chop the strawberries. Toss with 1 cup of the sugar and the vanilla bean paste in a large bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 to 3 hours or up to 72 hours.

2. Pour the berries and all the liquid from the bowl into a large saucepan along with the remaining sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer until the jam reaches 220°F, stirring regularly. Add the lemon juice during the last 5 minutes of cooking. (You can test the gel of the jam by placing a spoonful on a chilled plate. Place in the freezer for 1 to 2 minutes, then check for doneness. If you want a firmer gel, cook for a few minutes longer.)

3. Transfer to jars, and keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Makes 3 half-pint jars

If you would like to can the jam, you can find the directions here

*Adapted from Love and Olive Oil

Strawberry-Vanilla Jam Shortbread Bars

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup almond flour or very finely ground almonds

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups Strawberr-Vanilla Jam

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter and both sugars; beat until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until well combined. beat the almond flour and the all-purpose flour into the butter mixture on low speed, just until a smooth dough forms.

3. Divide the dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Press the other half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan to form the bottom crust.

4. Bake the crust until it is just beginning to turn light brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. remove the pan from the oven. Place the jam into a bow and stir very well until it is nice and smooth (I left a few small chunks). Gently spread the jam over the partially baked crust. Crumble the refrigerated dough over the jam to form a topping.

5. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until the topping is firm and crisp and golden in color, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely 

Makes 15 large or 30 small bars

*Adapted from RecipeGirl

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