When something at the grocery store is “buy one get one free”, and that item just happens to be on your list anyway, it’s almost a crime not to take a second one. This has been my situation with blueberries the past few weeks and I couldn’t be happier. It’s wonderful to eat them by the handful without worrying about their price or severely dampening my supply. So when I was looking for something to bake for a BBQ, I knew it had to include blueberries to help take advantage of our grocer’s irresistible weekly deal. I’d be shocked if you haven’t seen a reincarnation of this recipe online before, it seems everyone has tried them, and for good reason, they’re absolutely delicious. These bars are a double whammy of streusel, squished down as a crust and sprinkled over top, with a generous layer of succulent blueberries in between — summer dessert heaven!
One of my favorite summer activities is berry picking. It combines enjoying the warm sun, doing something semi-active, supporting local produce, and of course coming home with buckets of fresh berries. Although blueberries aren’t in season here in Connecticut yet, we took our first trip of the summer to the berry farm last weekend to stock up on the last of the strawberries and the newly ripened raspberries. So even though the original recipe calls for blueberries, I did a mix of berries to use what I had acquired plus some of those irresistible blueberries from the store. Thus “berry bars” instead of just “blueberry bars” — but it’s up to you to use whatever combination you want!
It’s a surprise there aren’t more bar recipes on my site, I love how easy they are to put together and their homey and rustic nature. There’s no fussing over rolling out dough or making balls to spread out on a tray — you just throw it all in a pan and cut them up when cooled. That’s why these bars are such a great summer dessert – it seems there’s always a last-minute occasion to bake for (pool parties, BBQ’s, etc.) and they’re perfectly simple and seasonal. I highly suggest you give them a try for your next get-together and watch them quickly disappear!
Berry Crumble Bars
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
4 cups fresh berries*
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and baking powder. Add salt and lemon zest. Use a pastry cutter or fork to combine the butter and egg — you want the dough to be crumbly like coarse bread crumbs
Pat half of the dough into prepared pan, set the rest aside.
In another bowl, combine lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Gently mix in the berries.
Sprinkle berry mixture over the crust and try to spread it out as evenly as possible.
Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the berry layer.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting squares. (Because I was serving these to a large group, I then cut each square into 2 triangles so everyone could have a try!)
*Use any combination of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries that you wish, just keep the strawberries on the minimal side because they contain a lot of water and can make the crumble soggy if you use too many.
Here’s a peek at our loot from the berry farm, happy summer everyone!