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For the second week this fall, we received a big basket of Italian plums (or prune plums) from our farm share, and I was excited for the challenge to create something new. With the first batch, I made a plum cake and added the rest to an apple crumble. By the second round, I felt comfortable enough with this new fruit to experiment with something a little different. I decided to go with Italian plum jam whole wheat cookie bars.
These are inspired by newton-style cookies and filled with a tasty jam that has some flavors from apple cider. They are a great grab-and-go breakfast, or afternoon snack. The whole wheat cookie suits them, but you can also feel a little better about grabbing an extra.
The jam is sticky and gooey, with just enough added sugar to offset the tartness of the plums. If your plums are riper, you’ll need less sugar, so be sure to add it slowly and taste as you go.
When filling, the dough for these can be a little bit fragile, and you might get carried away with the jam. I ended up putting in too much at first and scooping it out with a spoon before folding. There were a few holes, but they mostly patched themselves when baking.
The hardest part of making these was transferring the unbaked rolls to cookie sheets. I rolled them up on a large cutting board, and then placed the parchment on top, and the cookie sheet on top of that. I flipped the whole thing over, so the seam side would be down when baking.
If you don’t have Italian plums, you can fill these with a jam made from your favorite fruit. I haven’t tried using store-bought or canned jam as filling, only fresh, but I bet it would be delicious! If you try, let me know.
Now, let’s make some plum jam cookie bars!
Plum Jam Whole Wheat Cookie Bars
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar packed
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 3/4 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 12 Italian Plums pitted and cut into large chunks
- 4-6 Tbsp Sugar
- 3 Tbsp Apple Cider
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Milk
- 2 Tbsp Quick Oats (optional)
- Cream together the butter and sugar using a mixer. Then add in the egg and vanilla, and mix until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, dry ingredients, and spices. Then add to the butter mixture and beat on low until combined. Mix in the lemon juice.
- Separate the dough into two disks about 1/2 inch thick, and tightly wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to three days.
- While the dough is chilling, add the plum pieces, apple cider, and 4 tbsp of sugar to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring and smashing the plums until soft, about 10 minutes. Add more sugar to taste if needed.
- Bring to a boil, and stir frequently for 1-15 minutes until thickened, scraping any stuck fruit off the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat.
- Mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch into 1 tbsp of water. Add to the jam mixture while stirring, and then add in the vanilla. Stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to warm up for about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Roll out each disk into a 4 inch wide rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Use plenty of flour, since the dough can be quite sticky.
- Spread the jam in a strip in the middle of the dough, and fold the edges up to overlap. Press gently to seal the seam.
- Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the top with milk wash and dot with oats.
- Bake for 12-18 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Then slice each roll into eight pieces, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately for best results. If needed, store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.
- If you don't have white whole wheat flour, you can replace one-to-one with regular white flour.
- Feel free to fill these with jam made from any fruit, if you don't have access to Italian plums. Adjust the sugar to taste, depending on how tart the fruit is.
- The dough can be sticky, so use plenty of flour when rolling. You may also find it easier to roll the dough between two pieces of floured parchment paper.
- Be careful when transferring to the sheet pan, as the unbaked cookie rolls are fragile.
- The oats on top are completely optional, but use the milk wash either way. This will help the bars brown up. Feel free to top with turbinado sugar or cinnamon sugar instead.