Spring is in the air!
Okay, that’s not really true since it is only February and will likely snow again before we really escape winter. However, it broke 40 degrees today so I’m taking that as a win and breaking out the blueberries. I’m all about sharing the love these days (cue horrifying world events in the news), so any recipe that you can make and easily share with a big group is top of the list.
One of the things I love most about these bars is they are sturdy. Many “crumb” bars are delicate and tend to fall apart when you pick them up. But when these bars cool, the natural blueberry sugar and added sugar in the top layer come together almost and become almost a bit sticky, making for a firm bar that cuts cleanly for sharing. They also have generous dose of lemon juice and zest that makes them sweet and tart and absolutely delightful.
To make, preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line an 8×8 pan (this one is my go to for all bars) with two pieces of parchment that hang over the sides. This will make it easier to remove the bars once cooled.
In a medium bowl, toss together the blueberries, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice & sugar. Set aside.
In a seperate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in the cold butter and egg yolk using a pastry cutter.
Pro Tip #1: You can combine all ingredients in a food processer and pulse until butter is combined and mixture looks like course crumbs.
Pro Tip #2: Pop your cut up butter in the freezer for 10 m before you combine to ensure it is really cold. Cold butter creates steam pockets when it bakes, allowing the flower mixture to become really flaky and textured.
Firmly press about 3/4 of your cumb mixture into the prepared pan, making sure you have an even layer and have reached each corner of the pan. Pour the blueberry mixture on top.
Add another tablespoon of both white and brown sugar to the remaining flour mixture and combine. Pour the remaining crumble over the blueberry layer, by first squeezing the mixture in your hand to create larger bunches, and dropping over blueberries.
Bake the bars for about 45 minutes, or until the berries are bubbling and the top crumb layer is a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on rack for a full 30 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to overnight. This will allow the blueberries to full cool and create that great “stickiness” with the crumbs, allowing them to be easily sliced and shared. They are aboslutely delicious cold – the lemon flavor really stands out. But if you want to warm them up once cut, pop them into the microwave for 20 seconds and top with vanilla ice cream for a truly outstanding treat.
Follow me on Instagram and tag #littlebitsbakery so I can see all the recipes you make. ♥
- For the Blueberry Layer
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- For the Bottom Lay & Top Crumble
- 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour , spooned & leveled
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, ensuring it hangs over the side.
- In a medium bowl toss together the blueberries, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice & sugar. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl (or food processor) whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar & baking powder.
- Cut in the butter & egg yolk using a pastry cutter or in mixer until the mixture is course and crumbly.
- Press three quarters of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, ensuring it is even and in all corners. Pour the blueberry mixture over top.
- To the remaining flour mixture, stir in the brown sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
- Crumble the remaining dough over the blueberry mixture by squeezing it in a fist with your hand, then crumbling it over top.
- Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until you see the blueberries bubbling and the crumble layer starting to turn golden.
- Allow to cool fully to room temperature (about 30 minutes), then place in fridge for at least an additional hour, but up to overnight.
- When ready to serve, lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper overhang and cut into squares.
- Top with lemon zest or vanilla ice cream and serve!
- Blueberries can easily be swapped out with other fruit - cherries, strawberries, raspberries. Just increase the sugar slightly, since these berries aren't as naturally "sticky" when baked!
- Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.