Berry Chia Jam Crumble Bars with Cardamom Cashew Buckwheat Topping

Sweet berry chia jam. A crunchy, caramelized cashew and buckwheat topping infused with cardamom. And a hearty, nourishing date flax base. I would go so far as to say that these jam crumble bars are pretty much the perfect sweet snack, year-round. They're great eaten chilled during hotter months. And fabulous eaten warm from the oven in the cool months.

I developed this recipe back in August when my craving for berries was at its peak, so a jammy dessert bar was just the ticket. Now, I always keep a big back of frozen mixed berries around for smoothies and impromptu jam-making. That made it easy to whip this together!

I’m never one for a complicated, lengthy dessert process. When it comes to treats, the quickness of the execution is essential. I wouldn’t say these are a snap, seeing that there are three components (base, jam, topping). I mean, you could just go make some raw cookie dough bites or something in 5 minutes! BUT. But but but… these are really not very difficult or time-consuming to make (this is me staring you in the eyes, holding your hands and saying in a calm sisterly voice these are not that hard, you can do this!). And because they’re both healthy and rich-tasting, each little square is very satisfying.

All you need to do is: 1. make a 5 minute chia jam on your stove top. 2. Blend the crust ingredients in your food processor and press it into your pan (then pre-bake). 3. Stir together the topping ingredients, then 4. Spread the jam on the crust, sprinkle the topping on the jam, then toast it up in the oven to get the topping all nice and caramelized. That’s it! Well, of course you need to cut it into squares (or pizza slices?!?!) and nosh. Voila! Jam crumble bars fit for a health-nutty queen (like me! And probably you if you've read this far!).

I came up with this date flax crust a while back in an attempt to develop a grain free, free-form pie dough that I could use for hand-pies, galettes and the like. And, yes, it does work in that capacity. But it’s so low sugar and hearty that it doesn’t hit my mark for flakey buttery satisfying sexy pie crust. But it is most definitely a solid base on which to layer stronger flavors, like a lip-smacking jam. Or maybe a marmalade? That’d be a delicious variation!

For the chia jam, I used a mix of frozen blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I like to get the mixed bag because it’s so much cheaper than the individual baggies of berries (*ahem* thank you Costco). I’m frugal like that.

This jam will work with just about any berries. Although blackberry and blueberry are my personal favorite in these bars. I’d love to hear what you all use and love!

Hope your Fall is wonderful! Let me know if you make these beauties, or a riff on the recipe. Don’t forget to tag me on social if you make any of my stuff so I can see! Because we’re friends, right? xoxo — Renee

Flax Berry Jam Crumble Bars

Created by Renee on October 2, 2017

Note: For an entirely grain free option, sub buckwheat groats out for sunflower seeds or more cashew pieces.

  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Cook Time: 35m
  • Total Time: 40m
  • Yield: ~18 small squares


Flax Crust

  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon chia
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • cinnamon / vanilla
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plant milk

Berry Chia Jam

  • 1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup + more to taste
  • juice 1/2 lemon + zest 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour

Cashew Buckwheat Topping

  • 1 cup cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • pinch sea salt


Flax Crust

  1. Line the bottom of a 9” parchment lined springform pan with parchment paper (I cut a circle to fit). Set aside. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. In a food processor fitted with an S blade, add the flax seeds, almond flour, coconut flour, chia, psyllium and salt. Blend the dry ingredients until the flax is ground down. Stop the processor and add the dates, lemon juice and plant milk and blend until the dough comes together and becomes malleable like a cookie dough.
  3. Press the dough into the parchment lined springform pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
  4. Bake the crust on the center rack for 18-20 mins until just getting golden at the edges.

Berry Chia Jam

  1. Add the berries to sauce pot along with water, maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set over medium high heat and cook covered for 5 minutes, or until berries soften. Then cut off the heat.
  2. In a separate small bowl, add the tablespoon tapioca flour. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons juice from the cooked berries into the tapioca and stir together until smooth with no lumps (honestly it’s ok if there are a few little lumps, who cares?). Stir the gel back into the berries. Stir in the chia seeds. Set aside to cool. Personally I like to transfer my berry filling to a separate bowl or jar to cool as my pot holds heat very well and takes a long time to cool. Let cool for 15 minutes or so, which also gives the chia time to hydrate. Spoon and spread the berry filling over the cooked flax date crust evenly.

Cashew Buckwheat Topping

  1. In a medium bowl, toss together the topping ingredients: cashews, buckwheat, coconut sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Sprinkle the topping over the jam evenly.
  2. Set the bars back in the 325F oven for 8-10 minutes or so on the center rack, just until the topping turns golden brown. 
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before cutting into the bars as you like. These keep well stored covered in the fridge for up to a week.