Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blueberry Crumb Bars

So I was just telling some of my co-workers that I made some delicious blueberry crumb bars, but forgot to bring them in. And I really meant to bring them in, because, as the doctor said, "Wow. Those sound buttery."

"Yes they are," I said. "I made a double batch and used a pound of butter."

This is where a fellow nurse stifled a gasp and became very wide-eyed. "But each batch was the size of this patient's chart," I tried to justify.

But really, there's no getting around the fact that these specimens contain a  lot of butter. That's why they need to get the heck out of my house. These little bars of crumby, gooey deliciousness are like little pies (my most favoritest dessert ever), but better, because you can eat them with your hands. Everything is better when eaten with the hands.
We made these for our Fourth of July picnic, at which point we pondered the origins of their deliciousness. We pronounced,"They're the perfect combination of sweet (the blueberries), salty (the dough), starchy (the dough), tart (the lemon), smooth (the filling), and crunchy (the topping)." Not to mention buttery. With all of these fantastic flavors and textures all going on at the same time, your tongue just can't say no. At least mine can't--these things are becoming seriously problematic, much like the zucchini patties.

Like one of Nick's co-workers said, "Your brain tells you to eat it, and you have no choice." 

These bars are easy to make, and they're delicious the day after they're made, which makes them quite convenient. Also convenient is the fact that they're super-portable. The perfect summer food.

Blueberry Crumb Bars
(Adapted from Epicurious)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced or chopped almonds
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (about 15 ounces) or one 12-ounce package frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • 1 cup blueberry preserves (10 to 11 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel (packed)
For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with aluminum foil, and spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Add flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon to a food processor and mix for a few seconds until combined. Drop the chunks of butter onto the surface of the flour, and pulse a few times until the butter has turned into pea-sized lumps. Dump this mixture into a large bowl and add the oats. Mix to combine.

Transfer 2 cups to medium bowl; mix in almonds and reserve for topping.

Press remaining crumb mixture evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until golden and just firm to touch, about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

For filling:
Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Spread evenly over crust in pan, then sprinkle reserved topping over.

Bake bars until filling bubbles thickly at edges and topping is golden brown, about 50-60 minutes; cool in pan on rack. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip into 6 pieces, forming 24 bars.

These bars are excellent the day they're made, but I think that they really reach the peak of perfection on their second day of existence. Store covered in the refrigerator.

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