There's nothing fussy about these lovely squares. They can be made quickly in one pan and easily transported to a potluck, dinner party, or your living room coffee table to accompany blissful hours of reading or movie watching with a hot cup of tea.
Unlike some desserts that can dry out overnight, these Hazelnut Quince Jam Squares are just as good the next day, with the layer of preserves keeping them moist and tender.
They pair nicely with a glass of cold milk or a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea. Try one with our Housewarming Blend black tea with its warming vanilla crème brûlée flavors, our creamy vanilla House Blend black tea, or Heritage Blend black tea with its lovely maple notes.
Making Jam Squares
Jam squares can be made with an array of different doughs, from shortbread and sugar cookie to a hearty oat and nut combo. I love using oats and nuts, not just because they taste good, but because they bring a delightful chewy texture and toasted flavor that goes well with the sweet jam.
You can use any sort of nuts with the oats, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, or macadamias. They all bring unique textures and flavors to the dough that are great, but I love hazelnuts best of all. Hazelnuts bring an earthiness, almost a hint of bitterness, that keeps these squares from being too sweet. Chop them fairly fine so the dough holds together well and doesn't crumble into a tasty but awkward mess.
Oats and nuts are invariably better with a hint of spice to elevate them, and these Hazelnut Quince Jam Squares are no different. You can stick with one spice like cinnamon or cardamom to keep things simple, or add a few layers of flavor by including a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, ginger, or even a pinch of clove.
This recipe is quite flexible regarding the type of spices, flours, and nuts you can use, but butter is the one thing you can't skimp on. It is essential for binding the dough ingredients together so you get a square that holds its shape after baking and doesn't fall apart in your hands. You could substitute solidified coconut oil, ghee, or shortening, but each of these will affect the flavor.
One thing you can cut back on is sugar. Most square recipes call for a full cup of brown sugar, but I found them more than sweet enough with only half a cup.
These Hazelnut Quince Jam Squares are well suited to any kind of jam so long as it's not runny. Runny preserves will make for very messy eating, indeed. I used quince jam in these squares because I love the rich flavor of quinces and how well they go with hazelnuts and oats. Other great options are strawberry jam, peach jam, or plum jam.
If you want to go full homemade, you could make one of our delicious jams like Apricot Lavender Jam,Spiced Pear Jam, or Citrus Carrot Jam with Ginger and Cardamom.
The squares will bake quickly in a hot oven; be sure to watch them the last five minutes so the tops don't get burned. Let them cool completely before cutting and serving. You can eat them plain or serve in bowls topped with ice cream or whipped cream.
Hazelnut Quince Jam Squares
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
- 3/4 cup quince jam
Preheat oven to 400F.
In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar until creamy. Set aside.
In medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and hazelnuts.
Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir until no flour is visible.
Grease 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.
Divide dough in half. Press half evenly into bottom of baking dish.
Spread evenly with quince jam, then sprinkle with remaining dough, pressing gently so it sticks together and isn't too crumbly after baking.
Bake 25 minutes until top is golden.
Remove from oven and cool completely. Cut into squares and serve at room temperature.