Buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread, smothered in sweet, fruity jam and topped with even more buttery goodness in the form of shortbread streusel. These Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars are the most delicious cookie bar you will ever eat. They are gluten free, ridiculously quick and easy to make, and so yummy you won’t believe it! Don’t need to eat gluten free? No worries, one simple substitution means you don’t have to go out of your way to buy gluten free flour! These Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars are the perfect Mother’s Day treat, and you can use your favourite flavour jam!
When I asked my mum what she wanted me to make for Mother’s Day, she said a cocktail and something with shortbread! I’ve already shared the amazing Champagne Cocktail that I made for her, and now it’s time for the shortbread to take the spotlight. She has given up chocolate for March (aka torture) so something sweet and fruity it was! I got the inspiration for these Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars when I was in Tesco, lusting over a packet of Jammie Dodgers – a classic British biscuit (*ahem* cookie) that is jam sandwiched between shortbread! I’ve made my own homemade version of Jammie Dodgers before, which are so good, but I took the idea to the next level with these Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars.
What makes these Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars better than a packet of Jammie Dodgers? First of all, I have a not-so-secret ingredient that really takes the shortbread to the next level – you may not notice it’s taste, but boy does it make a delicious difference! With these cookie bars you also have a thicker, more buttery shortbread lovingly holding in even more yummy jam! Plus, they’re even easier and quicker to make – absolutely no rolling out any dough, and the only dough chilling you need to do is while the first part is in the oven! And if you love store bought shortbread? Oh my, just wait until you try homemade! It will blow your mind! It’s so easy to get ridiculously delicious results! Oh and shortbread streusel? To die for! Okay, so it’s not really technically streusel – it’s just crumbled up shortbread dough, but with how yummy it is it deserves a yummy name!
I love baking with jam, it’s a great way to incorporate delicious fruit into your baked goods without having to worry about all that extra moisture fresh fruit will release. Plus, you can have any fruit you like – whether it’s in season or out of season. You can use homemade jam or store bought, but make sure you buy a good quality jam if it’s store bought – it really makes a huge difference. I love making jam but haven’t made any in a long time, I need to pop down to a fruit market and pick up some supplies I think. If I don’t have homemade (which is sadly the norm at the moment), I use Bonne Maman jam usually – I definitely recommend it. For these Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars however I used Tesco Finest Preserves because they were on offer – I can definitely recommend this one too if you’re in UK.
These Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars are totally customisable to your tastes as well, by using whichever flavour jam you like – you can even go wild and use marmalade if you’re a daredevil like that! I made these Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars four times in two weekends and have used Cherry, Raspberry and Strawberry jams. Our favourite was the cherry, but all were totally delicious. I will be making the cookie bars again this weekend for actual Mother’s Day (don’t panic America, you haven’t forgotten, the UK’s Mother’s Day comes a couple months before yours!) and will be using cherry jam again as that was my mum’s favourite. I totally want to try these cookie bars with Bonne Maman’s apricot jam though – one of my favourites! We also like to serve ours with lots of fresh whipped cream, to make it extra indulgent!
Mother’s Day is one of my favourite holidays to bake for, it’s nice to create something particularly one person – especially when that person is one of the most important people in your life. I also think that makes the end result that much more delicious, I put a lot of love into all my creations but when it’s special mum love, it’s just going to be better. Mother’s Day is a lovely holiday too, the mother’s and motherly figures in our lives deserve celebration for all they have done for us and all they continue to do for us. I know not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have such a wonderful mother in their life, so this post is also dedicated to those people and any of the wonderful women that have had a positive impact on their lives in place of a biological/adoptive mother.
Gluten Free Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars
Yield 10-12 bars
Buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread filled with jam. So quick and easy to make, and unbelievably yummy! Gluten free or glutened - your choice!
- 2 sticks (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (140g) white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2.5 cups (430g) gluten free all purpose/plain flour blend (or regular AP/Plain flour if not making GF)
- 1/2 cup (50g) almond flour (finely ground almonds)*
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 13oz/370g jar of good quality jam/preserves (flavour of your choice, our favourite is cherry) - this approximately 1 heaped cup.
- Preheat oven to 325F/160C and line an 8"x10" brownie pan (or other deep pan) with parchment paper.
- In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a handheld electric beater, or the good old fashioned wooden spoon and elbow grease) beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy, about 3 minutes
- Add the flour, almond flour, and salt, and beat on low speed until a soft dough starts to form. If you're using non-GF flour, I would recommend doing this part by hand with a wooden spoon to avoid overworking the gluten.
- Turn the dough out of the bowl and form into a rough ball, split roughly in half - being a bit more generous with one half (don't worry, accuracy isn't important on this part)**
- Flatten the smaller half into a disc, wrap in cling-film and put into the fridge
- Put the other half into your lined pan and use your hands to spread out into an even layer covering the bottom of the pan, and about 1/4" up the sides
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until it's starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes
- Give your jam a good stir to loosen it up and then spread all over the semi-baked shortbread base.
- Take the other half of the shortbread dough out of the fridge, and crumble all over the top of the jam.
- Return to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes, until the top is golden and the jam is bubbling.
- Cool in the pan. Then turn out onto a board and cut into squares.
*If you're baking for an almond allergy sufferer you can omit the almond flour, but otherwise it is a must (even if you don't like almonds, trust me, you won't regret it)
**If you're a stickler for accuracy, cut the dough evenly in half and then take a quarter from one half and add to the other. Use the larger half for the base.
Store in an airtight container for 3 days.
What flavour jam are you going to put in your Jam Shortbread Cookie Bars?