Blueberry Bars — Again!

June 22, 2014

I WROTE ABOUT THESE BLUEBERRY BARS during the summer of 2012. And today, because Jennifer Josephy (my cookbook editor) is visiting from NYC, and because I needed something fan-frickin’-tastic to accompany our Afternoon Tea, I decided to make them again. Here’s the step-by-step recipe, now with much nicer photographs!

The Afternoon Tea in question. I served cucumber sandwiches (out of view on the bottom plate of the 3-tiered stand), English Cream Scones, and the aforementioned Blueberry Bars (top plate).

These perfect-for-a-pinic Blueberry Bars are deliciously moist and incredibly lemony. They are also a cinch to make.

Pour 3 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of your food processor.Add 1 cup sugar…

1 teaspoon baking powder…

The zest of one lemon…

And 2 sticks of diced butter.

Pulse the works just until crumbly.

Then add 1 beaten egg, and pulse again just to blend.

Pour half the crumbly mixture into a well-greased 9×13 pan, and firm it down with your knuckles.

Next, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and 4 teaspoons cornstarch in a medium bowl.

Stir in the juice of the lemon you previously zested (I squeeze my lemon halves through a towel to keep seeds out of the mix).

Then add 4 cups of beautiful, fresh blueberries to the sugar mixture, and toss them about with an appropriately-colored spatula.

Spread the blueberries over the bottom crust…

And top with the remaining crust.

Easy-peazy, right?

Bake on the lower-middle rack of the preheated 375F oven for 45 minutes, or until the top crust just begins to color. Allow the pan to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Then place a sheet of plastic wrap over the pan, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Cut into rectangles, and serve cold or at room-temperature.

Delicious!

For your convenience, here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above:

Blueberry Bars
Kevin Lee Jacobs (www.kevinleejacobs.com)
Ingredients for about 24 1-inch x 2-inch bars

The crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon
8 oz cold, unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 egg, beaten

The berry mixture:
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries

Special Equipment - a well-greased (or vegetable-sprayed) 9- x 13-inch pan

Making the crust - Preheat oven to 375F. Pour the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the machine until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add the egg, and pulse until blended but still crumbly.

Forming the bottom crust - Turn half the crumbly mix into the greased pan, and pat it down with your fingers to coat the entire bottom of the pan.

The berries – In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Then stir in the lemon juice. Add the blueberries, and gently move them about with a rubber spatula until all are coated with the sugar solution.

Finishing the bars - Spread the berry mixture over the bottom crust. Then sprinkle with the remaining crust. Bake on the lower-middle rack of the preheated 375F oven for 45 minutes, or until the top crust just begins to color. Don’t let the top crust brown all over, as this will indicate the bottom crust has (probably) burned. (I speak from experience here.)

Allow the pan to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Then place a sheet of plastic wrap over the pan, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Cut into rectangles, and serve cold or at room-temperature.

Think you’ll try these rectangles of sweet, lemon-infused blueberries? You can let me know by leaving a comment.

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Related Posts:
Easy Cheese Danish
The Best Asparagus Tart in the World
Glazed Strawberry Tart

Comments

  1. Joan C says:

    These look wonderful.

  2. barb says:

    can’t wait to try the blueberry bars – have been picking blueberries all week…

  3. Trudi Dido says:

    We have blueberries by the bowl full this week. I will try it (modified for gluten free) The pic makes my mouth water just looking a it . Good Sunday Morning to you Kevin!

  4. Marcia says:

    For those of us that are gluten sensitive, can you put some suggestions for alternatives that will still turn out?

  5. Mary Anne says:

    Hoping for a gluten alternate to these yummy looking sweets! I was thinking change out the flour and the sweetener and it should be fine….no???

  6. Had to make something quick as a house warming gift….needless to say.. big hit! The plate was empty before the sandwiches were eaten…and…FYI….my favorite thing about your recipes… are the little details that always make me smile… like not forgetting to point out “the appropriate colored spatula”….

  7. Lois E. says:

    Looks and sounds really good. Wish I had some blueberries – especially just freshly picked.
    I do have a comment. Why would you use a towel to strain juice? Wouldn’t a strainer work better and you would actually have more juice???? Love your site and all your ideas. Lois

  8. jules says:

    Trudi or Kevin which flours &/or other ingredients would you switch to make this gluten free? Also, I would love to try this recipe but need to adjust my sugar. Would grounded dates or coconut sugar work in the place of white sugar?

  9. Definitely! As soon as my berries turn blue! Still waiting on them here in Syracuse…

    Sam

  10. Kimmer says:

    definitely will be try this one, beautiful and yummy

  11. Sandy says:

    Beautiful! Will try for 4th of July picnic.

  12. linda says:

    Hmmm…thing frozen berries would work as well? I buy in bulk & freeze.

  13. Judy P says:

    I’m with Linda, I have 2 large bags of frozen blueberries in my freezer. I hope they will work for this, because this is the best recipe for them I’ve found yet!!

  14. Rose says:

    Kevin, I love blueberries, and this recipe (as is!) looks delightful. In fact the whole tea menu is inspiring. I picked wild-growing blackberries while working on my land Friday. Right now, I have a blackberry cobbler in the oven. The house is starting to fill with the aroma! :)

  15. Marjean says:

    Our local blueberries will be on in a few more weeks. My husband is retiring this week and we’re looking forward to enjoying more of the u-pick fruit available here – he’s better at picking than I am. I’ll definitely have to try this recipe!

  16. La Contessa says:

    I will try!But first I need a new spatula!

  17. Ilene says:

    Yummy!!

  18. Susan says:

    Absolutely! Blueberries are my husband’s favorite and lemon is one of mine (chocolate of course being MOST favorite). These look easy peasy…..

  19. Tiffany says:

    I’m Gluten Free so I’ll use Almond Meal flour instead of the regular gluten containing flour. Think someone asked about what substitution to use for regular flour in the comments. I’ve used Almond Meal (Bob’s Red Mill brand…as well I have some Honeyville brand in my freezer) to make pie crusts for Key Lime pies and it works wonderfully. Need to watch the first bake step closely, because Almond Flour browns quickly, otherwise the sub should work perfectly.

  20. Sarah says:

    Yum! Here in Michigan, our strawberries are just coming. Next month….blueberries galore!

  21. John says:

    Perfect timing. The freezer went on the fritz, and I have a lot of blueberries to use up.

    Already cooked an entire beef tenderloin, entire pork rib section, pork roast, whole chicken, 4 full racks of lamb, 4 packages of lobster, and package of 8 cod loins, … all because someone left the freezer door open.

    At least I can save the blueberries. Maybe I’ll throw some rhubarb into the mix.

  22. dori says:

    Your wonderful recipes usually involve a food processor. I don’t have one. Do you have a luddite’s version of these blueberry bars?

  23. Casey Cavasher says:

    Ahhh, temptation, thy name is blueberry bars!

  24. Debra says:

    I have had great results substituting frozen for fresh in other tart or bar recipes and don’t see a problem doing so with this recipe; Kevin your thoughts here??!!
    Thanks!

  25. Carol Imamura says:

    You’ve got to get one of those Mexican gadgets for squeezing lemons – they filter the seeds and are quick and easy to use and work ready well at getting out all of the juice! I can’t believe I didn’t know about them sooner (kind of like rice cookers, why doesn’t everyone have one?) Just Google Mexican citrus squeezer 

  26. Sigrid says:

    The branches of our blueberry bush are bending low because they are so full of berries this year. The berries should start to ripen in 2 -3 weeks and I will try your blueberry bar recipe for sure. They look delicious!

  27. Lin says:

    Thank you! I am making these for my daughter’s 49th birthday.

  28. Christina Mueller says:

    MMMMMM! I bet blackberries would be delicious, too!

  29. Diana says:

    My mother had a similar recipe she called Blueberry Buckle. Her recipe was 2 cups of blueberries. It was more cake-like. It is a favorite desert! Blueberries are bliss!

  30. Claudia S says:

    Those blueberry bars look delicious! Gotta try them! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  31. Bridget says:

    Fabulous! I can’t wait to try your recipe..and your book. This is a beautiful presentation. Thanks over and over. I thought I was being silly, buying a blue spatula. Turns out, thanks to you, I now know it was fate! These bars and I were destined to meet!

  32. badger gardener says:

    Kevin I had to tell you that I was dropping off some donations at Goodwill today and had to stop in to peruse the china. I found the cutest folksy desert plates, International Heartland, and I immediately pictured your blueberry bars sitting on top. So of course, I had to buy them. I wasn’t familiar with the brand but they looked to be good quality stoneware and only 49 cents a piece. If my husband ever needs to feature me on a hoarding show it will be because of china : )
    Love your blueberry bars but just waiting for the Michigan and WI crops to come in so I can buy a huge basket at the farmers’ market. Fruit is so darn expensive in the grocery stores this year ( California drought? ).

  33. Nancy Eldridge says:

    Wow! Can’t wait to make these. Thanks Kevin!

  34. Pat in New Brunswick says:

    Hi Kevin, the recipe sounds heavenly. Thanks! We are in a wild blueberry area and they will be out in August. The large bush berries are extremely expensive in the stores here. I usually buy a couple of ten pound boxes of the small wild ones and freeze them. I know these would be better with fresh berries, but have you ever used frozen, and if so, did they turn out ok? I have already filed the recipe away as a must do. Pat in NB

  35. Kip Morrissette says:

    I have used Frozen Blueberries many times. The trick is, do NOT thaw them. If you thaw them, you will have ‘blue’ batter.

  36. Bonnie says:

    Recipe looks great. Do you think I could substitute frozen elderberries? I started with one bush/tree? and now have 3 thanks to our seed planting birds. I can’t stand to let them go to waste so I freeze them and hope somone can use them in something. In this recipe would the sugar amount have to be altered and should they be thawed and drained–help!!

  37. Judy Sides says:

    I just made these awesome bars for the third time in two weeks. We are loving them and they are great to take to shut in neighbors. This last time, I used an orange liqueur in place of the lemon. So good! I think that I shall try it with peaches. Thanks again for this one. It’s a keeper.

  38. Julie B says:

    I think I picked just enough blueberries today to make this. Can’t wait!

  39. Shirley K. says:

    Kevin I don’t have a food processor. Would blending it with a pastry blender by hand work?

  40. Hi Shirley K. – Yes, a pastry blender will work. I’ve tried it. After blending, just stir in the egg.

  41. Tammy says:

    Thank You Kevin

  42. Joanna says:

    Mine are in the oven – didn’t have blueberries so used frozen raspberries. This recipe is so easy!
    Thank you Kevin for sharing this recipe :)

  43. Linda says:

    Just got my blueberries at the farmer’s market today to make this later on. Are they still good if rewarmed and served a la mode?

  44. Sue says:

    I made your blueberry bars, Kevin, and they are pure deliciousness.
    Will be a favorite for years to come. Thank you, thank you!

  45. John says:

    Kevin, I went to make this but discovered that the freezer door had been left slightly open. Inside I found about a cup of wild blueberries, and about 4 cups of sour cherries that had to be used, or discarded. I used this instead of pure blueberries. Also used orange rind, and juice of a half orange rather than the lemon.

    OMG, it was FABULOUS. Your really must try this for different taste. All kinds of people wanted the recipe when I shared it at a party. I gave you full credit.. as well as the person who left the freezer door slightly open.

  46. andrea says:

    These were great—-better than the blueberry muffin recipe I’ve used forever!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Tricia says:

    Kevin, I made these 2 days ago and they are FAB! Recipe’s definitely a keeper! Thanks for posting! And btw, you mentioned a cookbook…do tell!

  48. poulsbogardenlady says:

    Thank you Kevin! Now I know what I’m making for the 4th..plus I already have all the ingredients on hand! Happy 4th of July to you!

  49. This beauty is in the oven!! STAYED TUNED

  50. Amazing–this is a keeper–I used a pastry blender–fabulous!!
    Thank you Kevin–

  51. Terry Snyder says:

    Fabulous! I came to the recipes for Kale- and got sidetracked into this luscious looking bar! My blueberry bushes are producing well, and I’m always on the lookout for more BB recipes(that’s BlueBerry). THANKS! Now, back to Kale.

  52. Carol H. says:

    I made these a few days ago and they were delicious! And, although I’m an experienced cook, I made a rookie mistake. I didn’t check the ingredients before I went to the store. So I had only half the blueberries the recipe called for, and a lime but not a lemon. Even with these fairly major changes, the bars turned out great! In addition, in order to accommodate my gluten-intolerant husband, I made 1/3 of the recipe with GF flour and 2/3 with regular flour. I carefully made his portion at one end of a 9″X13″ pan and marked it right on the pan with a black sharpie, and made ours on the other end in the same pan. Sometimes the math is too difficult to try something like this, but it worked with this recipe. He doesn’t care much for desserts (weirdo), but he loves blueberries, and he just adored this dessert. I will say that I thought the bars were best the day I made them. The next day they started to get soft, and on the third day the texture was too soft. I’ll make them again, but only on the day they are to be eaten. One final point, the bottom does brown faster than the top. Take these out of the oven when the top is just barely showing a whisper of golden brown. For us it was at 39 minutes. Next time I might bake them higher in the oven. Thanks for another great recipe, Kevin!

  53. Carol W says:

    These are delicious. I’ve made 2 batches so far and keep getting requests to make them again. I went to get more blueberries but our local grocery store didn’t have any, they had loads of strawberries but no blueberries. It can’t be that late in the season here in the North east that I can’t get fresh blueberries!

  54. Darla D says:

    These was fantasticly delicious! The only problem was our gusts enjoyed them so much that there was only one for me. Will make this recipe again soon. Next time I will use an old fashioned pastry blender to prepare the crust.

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