This recipe was born out of the convergence of portable dessert season and a full jar of sourdough discard in my fridge. Bonus points if I could also use up one of my half-consumed jams and the small stash of roasted hazelnuts leftover from the last round of recipe testing. So I present to you: sourdough discard jammy crumb bars!
These bar cookies come together in a snap, thanks to cold butter and the food processor. I used a high proportion of nuts in the crust for flavor and fat — hazelnuts and almonds because it’s what I had, but I think you could easily swap them out for whatever you have on hand and what would match the flavor of your jam. Since pre-made jams are usually quite sweet, I’ve pulled back on the sugar in the crust. If you prefer something a little more indulgent, you could dust these with powdered sugar or make a quick glaze to drizzle over the top!
You can use whatever jam you have on hand, something a little tart and not too runny is my preference. I also like to add a little squeeze of lemon juice to the jam to brighten it up a touch. If your jam is thick and hard to spread, warm it up in the microwave or a small saucepan to loosen.
The 1/8 sheet pan
I’ve spoken before about my love for small sheet pans, and for this recipe I used the cutest of them all: the 1/8 sheet pan! Since these bars aren’t too thick, the short edges of the pan make removing the bars very easy. Ff you need a little convincing as to why you should invest in 1/8 sheet pans, let me give you just a few ways they are used in our house:
- Toasting small amounts of nuts or flour
- Baking a couple of cookies from the freezer stash to satisfy a late-night craving
- A casual serving plate for BBQ’s (I see them used a lot at burger joints!)
- They fit in standard toaster ovens so great for single-serving meals too!
The interior dimensions of an 1/8 sheet pan are roughly 9.5″ x 6″, so if you don’t have an one you could use a 9×5 loaf pan for similar results (the bars will just be slightly thicker). Alternatively, you can increase everything by 25-30% and bake in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Note that the bake times may vary depending on the size of pan you use, so rely on visual cues to determine doneness.
The starter in this recipe is primarily for flavor, not leavening, so its ok to use discard that’s a little old. I just try to use my discard within a week, before it starts developing a layer of alcohol on top or smelling too acidic. For these bars, use discard straight from the fridge as we want to keep the butter nice and cold.
Want more sourdough discard recipes? I’ve got you covered:
- Sourdough discard cheese crackers
- Sourdough chocolate chunk cookies
- Sourdough chocolate cake
- Sourdough sprinkle cake
- Brown butter sourdough snickerdoodles
- Baking with sourdough discard
- 40g hazelnut meal (or whole roasted and skinned hazelnuts)
- 64g almond meal
- 40g granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 60g all purpose flour
- 60g spelt flour
- 68g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 80g 100% sourdough discard, cold
- 200g jam
- Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
- 1 Tbsp coarse sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350F with a rack in the middle. Line an 1/8 sheet pan or 9x5 loaf pan with a parchment sling, leaving enough overhang on the long sides for easy removal. Lightly grease the pan and parchment.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the nut meal (or whole nuts), sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine (or if starting with whole nuts, until the nuts are finely ground). Add the flour and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until big chunks of butter are no longer visible and the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cold sourdough discard over the top and pulse until the mixture starts coming together in big clumps.
- Transfer about 250g (~60%) of the mixture to the prepared pan (reserve the rest for the topping). Use a small measuring cup or glass to press it into an even layer. Prick the entire surface with a fork.
- Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack while you prepare the jam filling (no need to let it completely cool).
- If your jam is on the sweet side, add a couple teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir to combine. If the jam is difficult to spread, you can warm it briefly in the microwave or in a small saucepan.
- Evenly spread the jam over the bottom crust. Scatter the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top, followed by the coarse sugar.
- Bake until the top is set and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. For easiest slicing, I like to further chill the bars in the fridge for another hour or so.
- Slice into desired sizes and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.