When I was little, my Yia-Yia's backyard was completely lined with blueberry bushes, and one of my favorite childhood memories is going out into her backyard with her to pick berries, so blueberries have been one of my favorites my whole life.
Although I love blueberry pie, I really wanted to try something different with the berries this time, and I found a great recipe for blueberry bars on Smitten Kitchen's fabulous site. If you've never visited her site, please do, it puts mine to shame. I only wish I was as creative of a baker, and as talented of a photographer.
But anyway, these bars attracted me because they seemed simple and straightforward, and yet big on taste. I have very little spare time, so I try to get the biggest baking bang for my buck, so to speak, and this recipe looked like it fit the bill.
Like all the best summer recipes, you start with fresh fruit: blueberries, which you combine with a little lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.
Then you assemble the dough for the crust by combining sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.
Cut in the butter and egg (I used a pastry blender, but a fork works just as well, or a food processor would also work nicely -- I just never want to clean mine afterwards).
The dough will be moist but crumbly when you are done. Pat half the dough down in a 9x13" pan…
Dump the blueberry mixture on top…
And then crumble the remaining dough on top. Easy! I told you!
Bake at 375F until the top turns golden. The original recipe said it should take 45 minutes, in my oven it took closer to 55, so the easiest thing to do is just start watching around 45 minutes, and pull it out of the oven when the top crumbs have a nice golden hue.
Let them cool to room temperature, and then cover and put them in the fridge to chill. As Smitten Kitchen also notes, these bars cut best when chilled. And although you don't necessarily need to store them in the refrigerator after cutting (they won't spoil or anything), they do keep better and taste better in the fridge than at room temp.
And these bars are definitely worth it! They are easy and delicious, a perfect no-fuss summer treat!
Blueberry Crumb Bars
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- 4 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
- In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
- In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.