Super-simple jam crumble squares or bars are made from everyday pantry ingredients, with your choice of jam. A true crowd-pleaser.
Jam squares or bars or slices consist of a shortbread biscuit base topped with jam and finished with a crumbled shortbread mixture. If you like thumbprint cookies filled with jam or jelly, you will definitely like these!
In South Africa, these Jam Squares are also known as Hungarian Tart or Krummel Tert (in Afrikaans). But, they don't have any known link to Hungarian cuisine. They also usually contain eggs, which I have left out. This tart is a family favourite across South Africa.
Flipping through my old recipe books, the Hungarian Tart popped out and I knew I had to make them, but I wanted an eggless version. After following the recipe in the book, I wasn't very happy with the biscuit, as it was a bit dry for my liking, so I returned to my whipped shortbread, made a few adjustments and was super happy with the outcome.
What You Need for this Recipe
This recipe requires a kitchen scale, mixing bowl, a 9" square cake tin, a whisk, and a spatula.
Jam Squares Ingredients
- Butter or baking margarine
- Flour - plain, standard grade or all-purpose flour (you can use bread flour in a pinch, but be careful to not overwork the flour).
- Baking powder
- Salt - balances the sweet in the biscuit and the jam.
- Vanilla Extract
- Caster sugar to add sweetness, however there is less sugar in this cookie base than that of my whipped shortbread, simply because jam can be very sweet.
- Jam - raspberry, strawberry, apricot, any jam you like for these jam bars.
- These jam squares or jam bars are made without eggs.
Refer to the recipe card for exact details.
Subsitutions / Variations
A note on jam - any fruit jam can be used in these jam squares (or jam bars or jam slices). Popular jams include apricot, strawberry, raspberry or even boysenberry jam, the choice is yours. The amount of jam within the jam slice ranges from ⅓ - ⅔ cup jam (this is dependent on how much jam you want in your jam slice, measure with your heart).
Jam vs jelly - Jam is a preserve that is made from whole or cut-up fruit, while jelly is made from fruit juice alone. For this recipe, I'm fairly certain that jelly will work just fine.
Substituting Plain/All-Purpose/Standard Grade Flour with Self-Raising/Self-Rising Flour: For every ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup/150 grams of plain flour, simply use self-raising flour and leave out the baking powder. For recipes needing more than 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup (150 grams) - add the additional baking powder per cup.
Making Jam Squares
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan. Grease and line a 20-23 cm square pan (9 in) with parchment paper leaving an overhang to allow for easy removal of the slice.
Step 2 - Soften the butter to a whipping consistency. If room temperature butter is not soft enough, pop in the microwave for 15-second bursts until soft but not melted. Beat the butter, caster sugar and vanilla together using a stand mixer, electric handheld mixer or whisk until the butter is lighter in colour.
Step 3 - Add in the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon until a soft pliable dough forms. Press ⅔ of this dough into the bottom of the prepared tin. Use the back of a cup measurer or offset spatula to really press the dough into the pan.
NOTE - knead the dough 3 to 5 times to bring the dough together.
NOTE - this pan is a line in a way that allows the slice to be lifted out of the tin with ease. The baking paper also reaches up both sides of the pan - this is to stop the jam from cooking onto the edges of the pan. My baking paper is wide enough to cover all 4 sides, however, you may need to double sling the baking paper.
Step 4 - Spread the jam over the bottom layer of biscuit dough. Crumble the final third of the dough over the jam. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top crumbs are golden brown.
Step 5 - Allow the slice to cool completely before slicing in 16 to 25 squares.
Pro Tips for this Recipe
When lining the slice tin, make sure you have an overhang on each side of the tin, this allows for easy removal.
Weighing ingredients is more accurate than measuring cups overall, and this is my recommendation for my recipes as they are all developed and tested using grams only. However, I have activated the US customary conversions on the recipe card, these are based on generally accepted conversions. Cups are equal to 236mL/ 8 fluid ounces, tablespoons are 15mL and teaspoons are 5mL.
Measuring cups and spoons are an essential addition to every kitchen! Especially if you don't use a kitchen scale. For accurate measuring invest in a set to make sure you are adding the correct amount of ingredients. When in doubt - always use a level spoon or cup measure.
Fan-forced or fan-assisted oven temperature must be decreased by 20°C/25F. Use an oven thermometer to determine the accuracy of your oven dial.
These jam squares can be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
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Easy Jam Squares
- 250 grams butter
- 159 grams caster sugar
- 350 grams plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ - ⅔ cup jam
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/340F. Grease and line a 20-23 cm with parchment paper leaving an overhang to allow for easy removal of the slice.
- Soften the butter to a whipping consistency. If room temperature butter is not soft enough, pop in the microwave for 15-second bursts until soft but not melted. Beat the butter, caster sugar and vanilla together using a stand mixer, electric handheld mixer or whisk until the butter is lighter in colour.250 grams butter, 159 grams caster sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Add in the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon until a soft pliable dough forms. Press ⅔ of this dough into the bottom of the prepared tin. Use the back of a cup measurer or offset spatula to really press the dough into the pan.350 grams plain flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- Spread the jam over the bottom layer of biscuit dough. Crumble the final third of the dough over the jam. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top crumbs are golden brown.⅓ - ⅔ cup jam
- Allow the slice to cool completely before slicing in 16 to 25 squares.
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly.