AN ARTISANAL BRITISH BAKERY IN SHANGHAI

cranberry oatmeal bars recipe

Cranberry-oatmeal-bars-with-apricot-770

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

100g cranberries

Zest & juice of 1 orange

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp rice flour

50ml water

50g brown sugar

35ml rum

For the biscuit:

110g butter, softened to room temperature

75g rolled oats

55g white sugar

125g plain flour

35g rice flour

1tbsp milk

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!).