A buttery shortbread-like base, juicy blueberry filling & crumbly crumble topping – these Blueberry Crumble Bars are so easy & delicious
This past weekend I went for a walk and finally felt sun on my face. It was a glimmer of spring. A small piece of hope. Like realizing there’s another cup of coffee in the pot, or finding a secret bottle of wine in your cupboard. And while the spring feeling didn’t motivate me to do any spring cleaning – I was inspired to start baking.
Because you shouldn’t celebrate spring by punishing yourself with household chores any ways.
Instead you should make Blueberry Crumble Bars. They have a buttery shortbread-esque base, a layer of juicy blueberries with a hint of lemon, and a crunchy crumble topping. It’s springtime in delicious blueberry crumble form – and completely delicious for breakfast or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Plus, they only take about 10 minutes to make & there’s no need to dirty an electric mixer. So you’re proactively spring cleaning by minimizing dish cleanup.
This recipe is based off of Deb Perelman’s Blueberry Crumb Bars from Smitten Kitchen. I’m in love with her recipes & writing – and I’ve never gone wrong with anything from her site. The main things were changing here though is the ratio of butter to flour to create a more buttery & shortbread-like base, then creating a little more crumbliness to the topping with the addition of brown sugar.
What you’ll also love about these bars is that they’re seriously easy to make. And I don’t say that lightly. First your whisk together some flour, sugar & baking powder in a bowl, then cut in the butter & egg yolk using a pastry cutter or fork.
You’ll notice I say COLD butter here as opposed to room temperature. Crumbles, shortbreads & scones often call for cold butter because when baking the butter creates steam pockets – which leads to flakier, crumblier goods. Exactly what we’re looking for in crumb bars. The batter will feel sandy and crumbly.
You’ll then press about 2/3 to 3/4 of the batter into your pan, and layer with the blueberry mixture. To add a little more crunch & flavor to the crumble for the top layer, we’ll then mix in a little extra sugar to the remaining flour & butter mixture then crumble on top.
The bars will bake for about 45 minutes, and when you take them out of the oven you should see the berries bubbling and the top crumble layer will be getting slightly golden in color. My only real trick here is to wait for the bars to fully cool before slicing. Coming from someone that’s as impatient as a 5 year old – I know it’s hard. But I also know that cutting into your Blueberry Crumble Bars while they’re still warm causes a big blueberry mess. So please follow this not-so-simple tip.
Seriously – the combo of blueberries, lemon & buttery crumble is springtime deliciousness. Even if there’s still snow on the ground, my wardrobe has zero pastels & my apartment is still as messy as it was on January 1st.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice , don't use bottle lemon juice - it's too tart
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour , spooned & leveled
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with aluminium foil and grease with butter.
In a medium bowl toss together the ingredients for the blueberry layer (blueberries, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice & sugar). Set aside.
In a separate large bowl whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar & baking powder.
- Cut in the butter & egg yolk using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is crumbly and resembles wet sand.
Press about two thirds to three quarters of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the blueberry mixture over top.
To the remaining flour mixture, stir in the brown sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
Crumble the remaining dough over the blueberry mixture by squeezing it in a fist with your hand, then crumbling it over top.
- Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until you see the blueberries bubbling and the crumble layer starting to turn golden.
Allow to cool fully to room temperature (about 3-4 hours) . Then lift the bars out of the pan using the aluminium foil overhang and cut into squares.
Bars are best stored in an air tight container in the fridge.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen