Am I crazy, or are there some fruits that taste just SO much better cooked? That’s how I feel about apples, and most of all, blueberries. Think about berry crumbles or baked oatmeals with sweet and tart blueberry juices just oozing from the crust. Just the thought is enough to get my belly rumbling and make me so nostalgic about summer when this gorgeous blue fruit is at its prime. There’s no reason one has to say goodbye to blueberries until Summer 2016, though, as the frozen variety can help us get through the tough winter months while we wait for the fruit’s grand return. Plus, research has proven that frozen fruits do not lose any of their nutritional benefits, so you have no excuse not to give my favorite blueberry muffins AND these decadent blueberry crumble bars a try, whether you have fresh or frozen blueberries handy!
I’ve been teasing you with these bars for the past week when I left you in suspense after sharing the first photo of them on Instagram (are you following me yet? If not, click here!). The truth is, we
were too busy eating them have been cooking so many delicious things in the Savormania kitchen lately that it has been so hard for me to choose which recipes to share with you first. I’m excited about every one of them, but I have to admit that this one is extra-special. It’s oozing with blueberry juices (bonus points for that), comes topped with a buttery crumble, is not too sugary but just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, and has a zesty aroma to it that makes the whole totally irresistible.
I have to owe the deliciousness of this recipe to Deb over at Smitten Kitchen, who first shared a recipe for blueberry crumb bars in 2008 after adapting it from one she had found on All Recipes. The original recipe didn’t call for lemon juice or lemon zest, but Deb (rightly so) decided to add a citrus flavor to the bars.
The bars are made in two steps — first the dough for the crumble and crust, and then the blueberry filling. The crust and crumble use the same mixture of granulated sugar, baking powder, all-purpose flour, butter, egg, salt and lemon zest. For the crust, you’ll simply have to pat the dough down to cover the entire bottom of a Pyrex or pan. For the topping, just crumble it over the blueberry filling to partially cover it. The blueberry filling is even easier to make, as you’ll only need 4 ingredients — lemon juice (to enhance the fruit’s aroma), granulated sugar (to decrease the tartness), cornstarch (to thicken the filling) and blueberries.
The dessert take about 50 minutes to 1 hour to bake, but you’ll have to wait until it cools down completely before being able to slice it into bars. I dare you to try baking it and wait at least an hour for it to cool down! I know I couldn’t and ended up trying a piece after what seemed like an eternal 15-minute wait. At that point, I couldn’t wait for the next 45 minutes to pass by to be able to enjoy a full bar. Or maybe two.
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- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 115g butter or margarine, slightly softened at room temperature
- 1 egg, beaten
- A pinch of salt
- Zest of half a lemon
- Juice of half a lemon
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 cups (300g) fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a square 22cmx22cm Pyrex with butter or margarine.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar, baking powder, flour, butter or margarine, salt and lemon zest. Mix to combine with a big fork, pressing the dough so that the butter and egg become fully incorporated into the dry ingredients. The mixture should look like a crumble.
- Take half of the crumble mixture and press it down on the bottom of the Pyrex to form the crust. Set aside the other half.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, granulated sugar and cornstarch. Add the blueberries and mix them to coat. Layer the blueberries evenly over the crust. Add the crumble over.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until golden on top. Let cool down completely before cutting into individual bars.
STORAGE TIPS: Store them in the fridge for up to 5 days, covered with plastic wrap. They're good both cold or at room temperature.