Josh is a fan of blueberries. A picky, picky fan of blueberries who will only eat fresh ones in season, never in pancakes, and who makes delicious blueberry muffins. Last summer we picked our own blueberries on a farm in West Michigan, near where Josh grew up. Because of that, we now have stacks of frozen bags of blueberries in our fridge. Stacks and stacks.
Flash forward to this summer. I know the cycle will continue. So I’m determined to use up some of those blueberry stores before Josh gets a hankering to go pick some more. That, coupled with a request for more baked goods for his office, divided by my desire to procrastinate from doing the video work I should be doing and multiplied by the inspiration of a cupcake book I picked up from the library today equaled one thing: blueberry crumble bars.
I picked up this recipe from my musings on BonAppetit.com but changed a few things (those changes are reflected below). For one, their recipe specified a 13x9x2-inch baking pan and in my opinion, there was absolutely not enough dough for that. For another, having neglected to pick up a few spare lemons (I like to keep them around for home pedicures–no joke, a sliced lemon dipped in sugar is one of the best things ever for your feet), I skipped the lemon zest and instead added in a tablespoon of vanilla. I also subbed walnuts for almonds, partially because I love walnuts and partially because I think they’re easier to chop than almonds and I was feeling lazy.
2 c. flour
1 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
12oz frozen blueberries
1 cup wild blueberry preserves
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter bottom of an 8×8 baking pan. Whisk flour, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl. Add 1 cup butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in small clumps. Transfer 2 cups to medium bowl; mix in walnuts and reserve for topping.
Press remaining crumb mixture evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until golden and just firm to touch, about 22 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. (Just a note: I completely skipped this step. Not intentionally. Bars still turned out pretty good.)
Mix all ingredients for filling in medium bowl. Spread evenly over baked crust in pan, then sprinkle reserved topping over.
Bake bars until filling bubbles thickly at edges and topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes; cool in pan on rack. Cut into 12 or 16 bars.
Josh loved them. I’m…ambivalent about blueberries, so it was just ok in my opinion. The crust was great though. After cooling on the counter and then in the fridge, it made great, though messy bars…eat with a fork!