These are a great versatile bar that can be adjusted for any time of year and seasonal fruit. I like to play with different types of flours and different spices – whole wheat, rye, spelt, and even gluten-free flours work really well with this recipe. Spices can be changed according to preference – cinnamon is a really good base spice, but ginger, cardamom, turmeric, and even herbs like sage and rosemary work really well in both the crust and the filling. Peaches are perfect right now, so here’s how I make mine.
2 Cups all purpose flour (works really well with 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup rye flour)
1 ½ Cups firmly packed dark brown sugar (½ Cup less if your fruit is really ripe and sweet)
1 ½ Cups rolled oats
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp baking soda
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¼ Cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
½ Tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ Pounds of peaches, chopped to bite-size cubes
¼ Cup bourbon (or 2 Tsp vanilla extract)
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Make the crust: lay parchment paper down in a 13×9 pan, allowing overhang on two sides. Spray the top of the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. Add flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter cubes all at once and pulse until sandy in texture- should look dry, very loosely crumbly. Add rolled oats to a large bowl, and pour flour mixture over the oats, and mix to combine. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared 13×9 pan. Use your hands or the bottom of a flat glass to press the dough into the pan, forming as flat a layer as possible.
Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown, then allow the crust to cool on top of the stove for 10 minutes before adding the fruit filling.
While the bottom crust is baking, mix all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl.
Once the crust has cooled slightly, scoop the peach mixture and all liquids onto the bottom crust. Spread the peach mixture out into an even layer on top of the crust, reaching all the edges. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the top of the fruit, covering it completely. Press down gently with your hands or the bottom of a flat glass to compact the top crust into an even layer. Don’t worry If some of the peach pokes through.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is golden brown. The peaches might be bubbling up around the edges as well.
Allow the peach bars to cool completely, and then using the overlapped parchment paper, lift the whole bar from the pan before slicing it into 2” x 2” squares.
Store the bars in an airtight container, they keep up to 4 days in the fridge. I like them with a little greek yogurt in the morning for breakfast (warmed up!) or with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.