Sunday, February 8, 2009

Blueberry Crumb Bars

This is one of those desserts that looks very impressive but is incredibly easy to make. I first saw these blueberry crumb bars on Smitten Kitchen. They looked so pretty that I had to try them right away and, boy, were they good! I now have made them 3 different times, and each time, they have been a huge success. I have also been able to halve the recipe without any problem (the halved version is reproduced below). A lot of the comments on the Smitten Kitchen post mentioned that this recipe is easily adaptable and can be made with cranberries or raspberries and with orange zest and juice. I am eager to try the variations.

I probably should have mentioned before now that I do not own a stand mixer so every dessert I highlight on this blog easily can be made by hand. In fact, if a recipe seems to require a stand mixer, I tend to avoid it. This recipe, thankfully, does not call for a stand mixer or a huge list of ingredients. Just one tip -- I have found that grating the butter is the easiest way to incorporate it into the flour/sugar/baking powder mixture. The butter needs to be very cold before grating. The technique is a little messy but has never failed to produce perfect crumbly dough.

Blueberry Crumb Bars


½ cup white sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cold butter (1 stick)
½ egg
⅛ tsp salt
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup white sugar
2 tsp cornstarch


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 8X8 inch square pan with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, stir together ½ cup sugar, 1½ cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together ¼ cup 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.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Makes about 12 squares.

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