Times-tested cookies perfect for holiday giving.

photoBlack Cherry-Oatmeal Crunch Squares

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticlks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup black cherry jam

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.

By hand: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and cinnamon until blended. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas.

By food processor: Combine the flour, rolled oats and brown sugar and pulse two or three times until blended. Add the butter and pulse eight to 10 times until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas.

Remove two cups of the crumb mixture and set aside. Press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of the prepared pan.

Drop teaspoons of the jam evenly over the crust, then spread it gently with the back of the spoon to cover the crust. If a few spaces remain, they will be covered by jam, since it melts during baking. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the jam layer.

Bake until the top is lightly browned, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool until firm, about 2 hours. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 25 small squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Makes 24 squares.

Times testing notes: Take the pan out of the oven when the crust is lightly brown, not when it looks firm. It will firm as it cools. Great for potlucks because they are portable.

Source: “Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking” by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans, Lou Siebert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2003).

Click the numbers for more christmas cookie recipes!
Return to tampabay.com