A little bit of comfort for a chilly evening
Alas – it’s November, the summer has long passed, and I’m waving goodbye to another pleasant (if brief) Shanghai Autumn for another year. As I look out my duffel coat and woolly hat from the depths of my wardrobe, I find myself smiling. Not because Christmas is under two months away (well, not only!) but because cold equals comfort, and comfort equals justification to eat more baked goods, more often.
Based on a childhood favourite, these Cranberry Oatmeal Bars offer this much needed comfort. The buttery top and base give way to a wonderfully sweet and sour fruity centre, whilst the rum and cinnamon hint that the excitement of the festive season is only weeks away. I feel a little naughty to confess that we were young, we used to call these bars ‘Fly’s Graveyards’. Despite this somewhat gruesome vision, I don’t remember it ever putting me off trying to sneak an extra portion when no one was looking!
Cranberry Oatmeal Bars with Apricot Recipe
Makes 8 bars
For the filling:
100g chopped dried apricots
Zest & juice of 1 orange
1tsp rice flour
50g brown sugar
For the biscuit:
110g butter, softened to room temperature
75g rolled oats
55g white sugar
125g plain flour
35g rice flour
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 18x18cm baking tin with butter.
2. To make the filling, add all the ingredients to a saucepan and place over a gentle heat, stirring. Once the mix begins to simmer remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool, stirring occasionally.
3. To make the biscuit, add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until light and creamy. Add the flours, oats and salt and gently combine until mixture becomes crumbly dough. Finish by adding the milk and mix through.
4. Take half the dough and sprinkle evenly across the tin then, using your fingers gentle press down on the dough to flatten it.
5. Add the cooled fruit filling to the tray and gentle spread evenly across the base. Sprinkle the remaining dough over the top, then place the tray into the oven for 30minutes.
6. After 30 minutes the top should be nicely browned so remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Once cooled, cut the Cranberry Oat Bars into 8 equal sized bars and enjoy with family and friends (keeping maybe a couple behind in a secret box – they make an excellent midnight snack!).