Blueberry Streusel Bars.
Or, if we’re being honest, Blueberry Butter Streusel Bars.
It’s berry season and these bars take full advantage of the tangy goodness that blueberries have to offer. The crust has a bit of added crunch compliments of some cornmeal…something a little bit different from the usual buttery shortbread crust of similar desserts like Lemon Bars.
You could easily substitute other fruits or even make your own fruit combinations. For these, we’re sticking with fresh blueberries with a touch of lemon.
Here’s what you need:
Blueberries, Sugar, Lemon, Vanilla, Corn Starch, Corn Meal, Butter!, Flour, and Salt.
Note: Like many baked goods, this recipe requires softened, room temperature butter so be sure to take your butter out of the fridge at least an hour before you want to start baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Before you do anything else with the lemon, use a microplane or small grater to take the zest off about half of the lemon.
You only have to forget to do this step first one time and you’ll never forget again. Zesting a lemon that has already been cut and juiced is no fun and a sticky mess.
You’ll need about 2 1/2 cups of freshly rinsed blueberries. Try to drain them well so that you don’t add any extra water to the pan. (2 1/2 cups is about 2 pints of blueberries.)
Add the blueberries to a medium sauce pan with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, and the juice of half a lemon (or about 1 Tablespoon).
Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until all of the sugar dissolves into a syrup and comes to a boil.
Once the berries are boiling, simmer for about 5 minutes until the fruit and sauce thicken slightly. You want to cook it long enough to make a nice thick syrup but not so long that the berries fall apart.
Add the lemon zest to the pot (about 2 teaspoons of zest), remove it from the heat, and let it rest and continue to thicken while you make the crust.
For the crust, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup cornmeal, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
Whisk the dry ingredients together to combine thoroughly and set aside.
In another bowl, or the bowl of a mixer, combine 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter with 3/4 cup sugar.
Most baking recipes call for unsalted butter so that you are controlling the amount of salt in your recipe. I usually have both salted and unsalted butter in the refrigerator for cooking and also to thoroughly confuse my husband. If you only have salted butter, go ahead and use it but reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by about half.
Speaking of butter, don’t throw those buttery wrappers away. Use them to butter the inside of your 9 inch baking pan.
Cream the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy then add 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix it in.
With the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly add the flour/cornmeal mixture to the butter.
Mix only until the flour is incorporated into the butter. The batter should be very crumbly. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, but do not be tempted to over mix.
Take 1/2 of the crumbly crust and press it into the bottom of your buttered baking dish.
No rolling required! Easy for those who are intimidated by making crusts. Take the remainder of your crust mixture and put it in the refrigerator to stay cool.
Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
Take the baked crust out of the oven and pour the blueberry mixture all over the top. Be sure to scrape down the blueberry pot to get every last bit of the syrupy liquid.
Top the berries with bits of the reserved crust to make a streusel type topping.
Return to the oven and bake 40 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
These are rich, tangy, buttery, and delicious. They will keep for a few days in an air-tight container but they begin to get a little soft and less crunchy with each passing day. All the more reason to eat them right away.
Here’s the recipe – Adapted from Driscoll’s