These blueberry crumble bars are like a dessert masquerading as a breakfast. How bad can that be? (Right, Ina?)
This year school starts a week earlier than normal in our county. Next Monday, to be exact: August 19. Does that seem early to you? It did to us.
I remember when I was a kid, back in 1980-something, school started after Labor Day, not a couple weeks before. Summer seemed endless and we spent several weeks of August at my grandparents’ shorehouse in Connecticut, with plenty of room to spare before school began.
This early start may be crappy from a kid’s perspective, but as a full-time working mom – I really don’t feel the difference.
Being a working mom can sometimes be a juggle, especially when I try to fit things in like the PTA, or volunteering, or even surprise birthday lunches at the school.
Having said that, there are some requests that come my way that feel right at home. Some might say they’re right up my alley – even if I’ll never be a “room mom.” I’m not sure I’d be cut out to be a room mom anyway (but don’t tell my elementary-schooler that).
The PTA put on a back-to-school breakfast for the teachers today. The theme was “Coffee Shop,” which meant bakery goods galore! Even if I’m not much of a baker, I can whip up some goodies on command – heck, I even enjoy the opportunity.
Thinking through what I already had at the house (this mom didn’t have time to stop at the store on the way home from work), I wanted something that would make use of the pint of fresh blueberries sitting in my crisper drawer.
And then I remembered it. The pin I used for a recent food holiday that SCREAMED blueberry goodness. Bright purple against a buttery crumble, begging to be baked and devoured.
That, my friends, was the treat I had to make – with a twist of lime.
Blueberry Crumble Bars
These bars are simple. There are only a few ingredients, many of which are probably sitting right inside your pantry. If you don’t have fresh blueberries, try frozen. Or, skip the blueberries and use raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or even peaches. Better yet, try a combo!
First you start out by mixing flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Then pieces of cold butter and one egg are cut into it – I find a combo of my hands and a fork work well, but if you have a pastry cutter that’d be ideal.
You’re not looking for a super fine crumble – just a rough one. And it’s okay if you still have pieces of butter that are rather large. I’m pretty lazy and got bored with cutting it in…and it turned out fine.
Half of this mixture gets pressed into the bottom of a greased 9×9″ glass baking pan to make a simple crust. Just use your fingers.
The blueberries get coated in a mixture of lime juice, sugar and cornstarch. I know most people (including Smitten Kitchen) use lemon (and I like that too), but lime and blueberry is exquisite!
Pour the blueberries and all the juices evenly right over top of the crust layer.
Then crumble the rest of the flour mixture on the blueberries – they should almost be covered.
The bars get baked at 375°F until they’re golden brown – about 45 minutes. Then, and this is really important, you must let them cool completely before attempting to cut them. In fact, let them cool to room temp, then throw them in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight), and THEN cut them into bars.
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick cold salted butter (cubed)
- 1 large egg
- 1 pint blueberries
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅛ cup lime juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9x9" glass baking dish and set it aside.
- Combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and the egg, and then use a fork, your fingers, or a pastry cutter (if you have one) to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture is good to go when it reaches a coarse crumble.
- Press ½ of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.
- In another bowl, whisk together the lime juice, ¼ cup sugar and cornstarch. Add the blueberries and gently toss them to coat.
- Layer all the blueberries on top of the crumb mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top - it should be enough to almost cover the blueberries.
- Bake the blueberry crumble bars for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the blueberries are bubbly and the top is golden brown.
- Let the bars cool completely before cutting - I refrigerated mine overnight.
- Makes 12 bars.
This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Crumb Bars.
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