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I was super excited when this month’s What’s Baking? theme turned out to be Baking with Fruit, chosen by Jaida at Sweet Beginnings. The weather is beautiful and the local farms are opening up for picking. There’s nothing better than fruit fresh from the farm.

While it’s a little early for blueberry picking here, I had a stash in the freezer that I wanted to use up to make room for more farm-fresh fruit. While these bars called for fresh blueberries, my flash-frozen berries worked just fine. (I’d caution against purchased bags of fruit, which would have a higher water content than the flash-frozen ones I used.)

These bars were really out of this world – I don’t think I can say enough about them. The photos, with my messy cutting, don’t do them justice. The bars are super soft and just slightly sweet. I was surprised at the subtle sweetness of the crust/crumble and the bright, fresh blueberry flavor. These are the sort of dessert you can easily return to for seconds, thirds, and fourths. Which I did untilĀ I finally wrapped up several pieces to take to a friend.

In the future, I’d consider serving these warmed slightly, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Blueberry Shortbread Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Adapted from All Recipes via Smitten Kitchen

Makes a 9×13 pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 Tbs. pieces
  • zest and juice of one lemon, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 c. fresh blueberries (4 pints)

Prep: Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Make the Crust/Crumble: In a medium bowl, combine 1 c. sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter, lemon zest and egg into the dry ingredients. Dough will be crumbly.

Make the Blueberry Filling: In another bowl, stir together lemon juice, remaining 1/2 c. sugar and cornstarch. Gently fold in blueberries.

Assemble: Pour half of flour mixture into prepared baking pan. Gently pat into an even layer. Top with blueberry mixture and sprinkle evenly with remaining flour mixture.

Bake for 40-60 minutes, until top is slightly browned.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing. (Smitten Kitchen recommends chilling bars so that it’s easier and cleaner to cut)

Store, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature or in the fridge. At room temp, the bars kept fresh for at least 3 days (at which point I had eaten or gifted the entire pan).

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