Plum Crumble Bars

Plums with aplomb! Cardamom crumbles and homemade plum jam make up these summery squares. # 182: Plum Crumble Bars

These plum bars have a secret – they’re gluten-free! I made them for a camping trip that included some gluten-free folks and they were a hit. Things I’m learning about gluten-free baking:

  • Go for something with shortcrust or shortbread. As a category, they avoid gluten formation to keep their texture soft and crumbly. You’re probably familiar with the dire warnings in recipes to not over-mix the dough for fear that it’ll end up chewy and tough, ya? Well that’s the result of gluten strands forming and building up unnecessary structure in your dough. So if you’re using a gluten-free flour, you’re already a step ahead of the game!
  • Buy a pre-mixed 1-1 gluten-free flour. That way, you don’t have to stress about finding obscure and expensive ingredients (gums and things.) Gotta love that gluten-free baking is mainstream enough for Safeway to have more than one brand option.

I’m a classic strawberry jam kinda girl, but when you’re given homemade plum jam, you do NOT say no. It’s sweet and has that lovely perfume you get right as you bite into a ripe plum. My mom’s plum trees exploded this year so I’m seeing a lot of plum bars in our future!

Speaking of secrets, these lil guys have some fun hidden ingredients. Almond extract in the base crust and cardamom in the crumbles give it a little extra flavor oomph!

Butter jewels, priceless.

You can also rub the butter in with your hands, but you gotta work quickly if it’s warm out so it doesn’t start to melt. You want the chilly butter to distribute evenly throughout the flour, so when baked, the water will begin to evaporate, leaving flaky buttery pockets and creating a light, tender crumb texture. YUM.

Almost there! This is essentially a one bowl / one pan recipe, so hang in there on the cutting butter step. Spend the extra time that you would doing dishes with your butter instead.

All tucked in.

Plum jam is such a pretty color! Painting it on the crust before the crumble.

A jammy masterpiece.

The crumble topping is more like a delicious breakfast situation with the oats and brown sugar.

And don’t forget the cinnamon and cardamom! Literally the stars of the show.

She’s ready, folks! Off to tan in the oven.

Best part about making a tray bake for an event is getting to eat the edges. You’re cleaning up and treating your self, it’s the perfect situation.

Happy munching!

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