Dear SOS: I recently moved from San Luis Obispo to Denver. I miss the berry bars at House of Bread in San Luis; they were my favorite breakfast after a run or before class, and they were even my last meal before commencing the 18-hour drive from SLO to Denver! I'd love the recipe so I can have a slice of my old college town here in my new big city. Thank you!
Dear Gabby: These bars are rich and buttery, with nice tart and sweet notes from the jam, and you might never guess how easy they are to make. House of Bread was happy to share its recipe, which we've adapted below.
House of Bread's berry bars
Total time: About 1 hour, plus cooling time
Servings: 9 to 12
Note: Adapted from House of Bread in San Luis Obispo.
3 cups (12.75 ounces) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 ounces berry jam
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 11-by-7-inch baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Slowly beat in the flour mixture.
4. Spread three-fourths of the batter into the pan, spreading the batter a little thinner in the center of the pan. Spoon the jam on top. Spoon the remaining batter over the jam in random dollops so the jam can still be seen.
5. Bake the bars until golden-brown on top and firm to the touch, about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through for even baking.
6. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.
Each of 12 servings: 479 calories; 5 grams protein; 77 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 17 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 103 mg cholesterol; 52 grams sugar; 185 mg sodium.