This recipe for blueberry bars will hopefully be the solution out of my baking rut. The bars are very easy to make, are a great way to use all those summer berries and are delicious. Blueberries are still showing up at the farmers market here, but I think frozen would work just as well for other times of the year. The bars are best cut once chilled, if you can wait long enough. I did not. You can store them at room temperature for a couple of days, but they will also keep well in the refrigerator.
A few notes: If you use frozen blueberries, decrease the amount of lemon juice by 1 tablespoon. Frozen blueberries tend to have a lot more moisture and we would not want a soggy concoction. I use my hands to cut the butter into the flour/sugar mixture so as to flake the butter in. When pressing the mixture into the pan for both the bottom and top layer, make sure it is evenly distributed and pat it down into the pan and then over the blueberries. If you don't, it will fall apart and the bars will not hold together. Use an off-set cookie spatula to easily remove the bars from the baking pan and make a prettier presentation. After all, we eat with our eyes first. I use a 12" x 12" pan since I bake in bulk, but if you cut the recipe in half an 8" x 8" pan is what you'll need and may be more practical for home baking. The bars are wonderful topped with vanilla or dulce de leche ice cream!
1- 1/2 cups sugar
4- 1/2 cups flour
3/4 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
1- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 cups blueberries
juice of 2 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Liberally grease a 12" x 12" pan. (see note about making half the recipe)
1. In a large heavy mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt and blend well. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture is a bit crumbly. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl until blended and add to flour/butter mixture.
2. Press a little over half of the flour mixture into the pan. Distribute evenly and pat down gently.
3. In a medium bowl, mix cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice. (if using frozen blueberries, reduce the amount of juice- see note). Add blueberries and toss gently.
4. Evenly distribute blueberries in pan, they will be in almost a single layer and should cover most of the pan. Place remaining flour mixture over the berries and gently pat down.
5. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown. Allow to cool COMPLETELY, then cut into squares.