I have to share the story behind these dessert bars with you- if for no other reason to give you a little insider view into my daily shit show- (I’m clumsy, spacey and super ADHD. If something can go wrong, it usually does!)
My chef friend Megan (of @hautelifeIndy) invited Aaron and I over for a pool-side cook out on Sunday, and I asked her what I could bring to contribute. She suggested a dessert, and because my lazy ass didn’t feel like going to the store, I raided the pantry and fridge for ingredients to see what we had on hand to make a dessert with, and decided on some type of blueberry bars.
After looking through literally 10 recipes-(all conflicting on whether the butter should be room temperature or cold) I decided to try one with room temp butter. (This is a combination of many of the recipes I looked through, so I guess you could say it’s an original?) So I set the butter on the porch so it would warm faster, and only meant to leave it out for a few minutes. Welp- wouldn’t you know I fell asleep and when I went back out, all three sticks of butter were completely melted all over my patio furniture. Needless to say I was pissed and didn’t even want to try again.
Instead, I took a breather and tried again Monday night. This time I used chilled butter that had only set out for 20 minutes and this seemed to do the trick!
And here’s the recipe y’all, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did- I had three before I even took them out of the dish!
- 3 c fresh blueberries
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 c white sugar
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp cold water
- 2 1/2 c flour
- 1 c white sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 sticks chilled butter, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- remainder of shortbread crust
- 1 more Tbsp of butter
- 1/2 c quick oats
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- In a sauce pan over heat, add blueberries sugar, lemon zest and vanilla.
- In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, cornstarch and cold water until cornstarch is dissolved.
- Whisk cornstarch/lemon mixture into the berry mixture in saucepot.
- Mixture will begin to boil, smash blueberries with spoon.
- Leave on medium heat until mixture begins to thicken.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and grease. (Make sure to grease the sides as well- this WILL stick to the sides like crazy if you don't grease it well enough!)
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder.
- Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cubed butter and egg yolk until mixture forms small crumbs (see photo below for reference)
- Spread 2/3 of shortbread mixture across the bottom of the baking dish and press down firmly to form a crust.
- In the same bowl with the remaining 1/3 of the short bread mixture, add your oats, 1 Tbsp of butter and brown sugar.
- You can mix this with your hands by squeezing.
- "Crumble" this mixture over the top of the blueberry filling, evenly over the whole pan.
- Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes.
- Cool completely and remove the bars using the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Cut into bars- 6 peices x 4.
- Let this dessert cool COMPLETELY before cutting- or you will have a hot, gooey, sticky mess. I let it cool one hour on a cooling rack, and then one hour in the fridge before cutting.
- If you do not have a pastry cutter you can use two knives. Youtube is a good resource if you have never used a pastry cutter before- check it out!
So here is what I came up with, and compared to what I researched, (brushing my shoulders off) this looks pretty damn good. When you smush the crumbs together, it forms a sort of “dough”. It took a while to get the crumbs to this point, but just be patient with yourself- it’ll get there! If you’ve never used a pastry cutter, youtube it and check it out! (You can substitute two knives if you don’t own one.)
What’s your favorite summer time dessert? I’d love to hear in the comments below!