Black Bear Crumble Bars

When Doc and I travel we stop at roadside produce markets to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and preserves. One of the preserves we buy is called black bear preserves.
It is a mixture of berries that black bears love.
In this recipe I use mixed berry preserves from the grocery store instead of the roadside market!

Black Bear Crumble Bars– Makes 48- 1½-inch bars

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups uncooked old-fashioned oatmeal
1 teaspoon iodized salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, melted
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups mixed berry preserves (I use Smucker’s Northwest Triple Berry)
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place parchment paper in bottom of a 9 X 13-inch pan. Stir flour, oatmeal, salt, granulated sugar and dark brown sugar together in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir until mixture is crumbly. Break up any large pieces into small pieces. Press half of oatmeal mixture in an even layer in prepared pan. Sprinkle blueberries on top. (Blueberries will be scattered on top. They will not completely cover the top Don’t be tempted to add more!)Spoon preserves on top of blueberries and spread evenly. Spoon remaining oatmeal mixture over preserves and distribute evenly. Lightly press with fingers to make a smooth top layer. Bake 55-60 minutes. Cool 1 hour then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares. Bars taste best when served at room temperature.

Variations: Use any combination of fresh berries and preserves. Fresh cherries with cherry preserves, fresh strawberries with strawberry preserves, fresh blackberries with blackberry preserves, fresh raspberries with raspberry preserves…. The options are endless!

Published in The News and Neighbor on July 5, 2017

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