¾cup(12 Tablespoons or 170 g) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
¼teaspoonalmond extract, (optional)
¾cup(225 g) strawberry preserves
⅓cupfresh strawberries cut into quarters, (optional, see notes)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), combine flour, oats, chopped almonds, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. With the mixer on low, add the butter and almond extract (if using). Mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand (about 2 minutes).
Transfer half the mixture to prepared pan. Use your hands or the back of a measuring cup to press mixture evenly into the bottom to form the crust. Bake crust for 20 minutes or until golden (keep the oven on).
Spread preserves over baked crust using an offset spatula. Add chopped fresh strawberries on top. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture evenly over the strawberry layer.
Bake strawberry bars for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow bars to cool completely before removing from pan and cutting into 16 squares.
Fresh strawberries: If you don't want to use fresh strawberries, increase preserves to 1 cup.Store strawberry oatmeal bars in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.Freezing strawberry oatmeal bars : After the bars have cooled completely, wrap the entire bar in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Store on a flat surface in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before bringing to room temperature and serving.Recommended tools: kitchen scale, 8x8 baking pan, hand mixer or stand mixer.