One of the best parts of early summer is fresh blueberries. There are so many things you can do with them, from pies and crisps, muffins and cakes, smoothies and toppings for granola or oatmeal. Not to mention eating them plain, which is what we do most.
And there's just nothing like going to pick them yourself. I was so happy to discover that there is a blueberry farm just 20 minutes from our house - we went twice in June to pick and ended up with a total of 4 gallons. I managed to freeze 2 gallons - the rest were eaten plain or baked into this mouth-watering dessert.
Ellia (3.5) - she ate more berries than she contributed to the bucket. :)
Picking berries with my friend Kim and her children.
top left - Jenika with Marissa and Annika
top right - Miranda with Hadassah
bottom left - Me with Kim - we've been friends for 23 years!!
bottom right - Elisha and Corban - great buddies.
These Blueberry Crumb Bars are really simple to make and just burst with berry flavor. A little lemon zest and juice add that extra special zing to the filling. I highly recommend using organic lemons if you can find them, especially since you're using the zest. I can actually get a bag of organic lemons at Walmart for just a marginal amount more than the conventional lemons cost. Definitely worth it.
They store really well in the refrigerator and taste good chilled, but I definitely preferred them warmed up a little. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would really take them over the top.
Blueberry Crumb Bars
adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 cups flour (I used half white whole wheat, half all purpose)
1 cup cold butter (I used salted)
1/4 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch (use organic if possible)
4 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 13 x 9" pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
In another bowl, stir together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. (My oven cooks fast, so I always check early.)
Cool completely before cutting into squares.