Whatever baking genes I’ve got I inherited from my mother, and hers definitely came from her mom, my Bubbie (Jewish grandmother). It didn’t matter what it was; if she made it, it was delicious. Anytime you visited you would be greeted with a mountain of baked goods, and my favorite was always these cinnamon mandel bread (sort of Jewish biscotti) bars. Sometimes they’d have jam or chocolate chips as well, and I ate enough of them over the years that they just became ‘Adam’s Bars’.
I’d like to think Coach Hoke (who I have had the pleasure of meeting and is super nice and awesome) would enjoy them as much as he did these ribs this weekend. That guy on the right sure looks suspect, like he’s saying ‘How many autographed jerseys would it take to get these ribs on gameday?’
My mom kept making them and every now and again would send me a box with some, but a few weeks ago I had the urge to finally try them myself. Strawberries had been on a 10/$10 at Meijer, so naturally I bought a ridiculous amount and made jam with them. I soon realized that as much as I loved having homemade jam on homemade bread for breakfast, it was going to take me 2 months of eating it ever day.
Searching for something to do with the jam, I had the idea to make a batch of ‘Adam’s Bars’. I emailed my mom for the recipe but she didn’t have it written up and was going away for a week, so I was out of luck. Already inspired, I decided to make a cross between a jelly roll and mandel bread. A normal jelly roll would have a more sponge like dough compared to a hard mandel bread, and I think I found a nice medium. I used the dough recipe from a cinnamon pull-apart bread I have made a few times (and I highly recommend you try).
Start off by mixing most of your dry ingredients together. This will be 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. This will sit for a few minutes while you prepare the wet ingredients, so I’d hold off on adding the yeast or salt until you combine since salt will kill the yeast if they come in contact. As you can see from the picture below, I ignored this and went rogue.
In a small pot melt your butter in the milk. Once it has all melted remove it from the heat and add your water and vanilla extract. It needs to cool to at least 125 degrees, preferably a little lower (around 115), so give it some time to cool. Otherwise, adding the salt late will be for naught since the scalding liquid will kill your yeast.
In a stand mixer (or with a spatula), combine the dry ingredients and milk mixture. Action shot!
Don’t forget your eggs…
At this point it will be in desperate need of that final cup of flour. Continue adding in small amounts until the dough comes together. It will be sticky but should clear the sides of the bowl. Let it rise in a lightly greased bowl until doubled in size, about an hour (you know the drill).
Ok, now that you have this beautifully risen dough, time to flatten it out. Knead in a bit of flour and roll the dough out to a 12×20 inch rectangle. Rolled? Now cover it in jam. Make sure to leave an inch jam free around the edges. I didn’t officially measure how much I used, but I would guesstimate at around 1 to 1 1/4 cups of jam. Of course it’s up to you, but as you can see I was able to get a decent layer on the dough.
I also sprinkled about 1/2 cup of cinnamon sugar on top once I added the jam because, in highly technical culinary terms, I felt it would supremely add to the deliciousness of it. Cut the dough into three equal pieces (I struggled with the equal as you can tell) and then do a tri-fold to complete the shaping. You certainly could also roll these vertically or horizontally, I just chose not to.
Carefully (I used two spatulas) transfer the rolls to a parchment lined baking sheet. Let rise for about 30 minutes, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating about halfway through. Mine needed about 25 minutes, and as you can see a poor folding job on my part lead to two rolls and one strudel. Let cool and slice into bars, should make about 40 total.
Strawberry Jam Bars
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 t yeast
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 ounces butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Strawberry jam (approx 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar, 1 t cinnamon)
Melt butter and milk together over low heat and add vanilla extract once butter has completely melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool to at least 125 degrees.
Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in bowl and combine butter/milk mixture. Add in both eggs and combine. Continue adding remaining cup of flour until dough forms solid ball. The dough will be sticky but should hold shape. Allow to rise for 1 hour in lightly greased bowl.
On a floured work surface roll dough to 12×20 inch shape and cover in jam. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and slice dough into 3 pieces. Tri-fold each piece and create a seal on the long edge of each roll. Let rise for 30 minutes.
Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating after 15 minutes. Let cool for 45 minutes and slice into bars.
Dough recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker