Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Berry good!

One of the reasons I absolutely LOVE summertime (besides the warm weather and sunny days - I am a southern girl at heart, afterall) is being able to get fresh, deliciously sweet berries at the store.

Check out these beauties

Meijer had quite the sale on blueberries last week (2 pounds for $4.99 - yes pounds!), so I stocked up. Actually, I wish I had bought some more to freeze - but instead we all ate a lot of blueberries!

A friend of mine from church recently had a baby and I was to bring her dinner last night and I always include dessert with it. So, I decided to make this:

Blueberry Crumb Bars - YUM!

This is a slightly modified recipe from Everyday Food (a magazine which I have really come to love, BTW - lots of great recipes that are pretty easy too - my only beef is that they only rarely include nutritional info). Theirs called for fresh blackberries, but since Meijer blueberries were such a deal, well I just had to use those. Here's the recipe:

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup packed lt brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 containers (5 ounces each) blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries (I just thought of something - you could mix them all up for a mixed berry crumb bars - yum, I'll have to try that one!)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with Pam. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Spray paper with Pam.

2. Make topping: In a medium bowl, mix melted butter, brown sugar and 1/4 tsp salt; add 1 cup flour and mix until large moist crumbs form. Set aside (the original recipe says to put this in the fridge so the crumb topping comes out looking "nubbly", but I didn't and it came out fine, but you can if you'd like).

I dare you to not try sampling some of that buttery sweet goodness! No dare, not even the triple-dog dare, could keep me from trying it - the topping, IMHO, is the best part!

3. In bowl of electric mixer, beat softened butter, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Reduce speed to low and add remaining 1/4 tsp salt and baking powder. Mix in remaining 3/4 cup flour.

Spread batter evenly in pan.

Sprinkle with berries,

then topping.

4. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40-45 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Using paper overhang, lift cake out onto work surface and cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. (Keeps in airtight container for 3 days)

I sure hope my friend and her family enjoyed these last night. Thankfully for my family, I made extra (they hate it when I make something and don't have any left for them - and I can't blame them).

Bon Appetit!