Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How To Make Oatmeal Raspberry-Jam Bars With a 6 Year-Old

Wednesdays in France, children don't have school. Lucky teachers, unlucky parents. On this particular day, Cecile had rehearsal all day at the music conservatory. I really miss not having her around but I somehow managed. With her mom accompanying her, Clement and I were on our own. Between his morning music lesson and his evening gymnastics lesson, I had 6 hours to kill with a 6 year-old so, we decided to work our magic in the kitchen and make Oatmeal Raspberry-Jam Bars (recipe courtesy of Real Simple magazine online).

Step 1: Make sure the other sibling is out of the house. Whining will ruin this recipe.

Step 2: Turn on cartoons while you prep all of the ingredients.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups quick oats, such as Quaker

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 1/2 cups raspberry jam

Step 3: When you realize that Europe's measuring system is all out of whack because they use grams instead of cups and tablespoons, just kind of eyeball the ingredients. It's pretty hard to mess up a crumble recipe.

Step 4: Once everything is ready to go (this includes trying to figure out your Celsius oven temperature, unless you live where ovens are normal, in which case you would preheat it to 350 degrees), let your 6 year-old pour the flour (I used whole-wheat! shhh!), sugar, salt and butter into the food processor (We substituted half of the butter with applesauce).

Then, let him press the button until it becomes a crumbly consistency.
Step 5: Let him add the oatmeal (that has already been "measured") and continue to pulse until it looks something like this:

Step 6: Take 3/4 of the "dough" and let your 6 year-old press it into a pie pan. Then fix it for him so that it is evenly distributed.
Step 7: When you realize that you don't have raspberry jam, change the recipe into Oatmeal Cherry-Jam Bars. Let your 6 year-old distribute jam-of-choice onto the pressed crust.

Step 7: While your 6 year-old finishes off the spoon that is covered mainly in butter and sugar (He is, afterall, French), take the remaining 1/4 of dough and crumble on top.

It should resemble this:

Step 8: Bake in the "oven" for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top

While it cooks, send your 6 year-old off to continue watching cartoons.

When you realize you forgot the lemon zest in the recipe, put the lemon back in the fridge for later use. Oh well.

After 20 mintues, it will hopefully look like this. Then pray that it's edible.

Step 9: Let it cool then enjoy:

Step 10: After your 6 year-old has managed to somehow get cherry jam all over his face, send him off to make a bubble beard:
'Twas a success and he didn't even realize that he was eating something healthy with whole wheat flour and half the butter.