A couple of weeks ago I had more than 7 cups of fresh blueberries in my refrigerator just waiting for me to make a decision on the outcome of their wonderful sweetness. There’s just so many muffins, pancakes, loaf breads and just toppings for yogurt and cereal plus additions to salads, smoothies and just popping a handful in your mouth. In other words, something new and exciting was needed. I found it! These bars are really good. They are not too sweet and don’t over power the fresh flavor of the blueberries. You can make them even more decadent by adding ice cream or some sweet whipped cream. I found them delectable just the way they were!
I will admit they have a few more steps than most bars, but you will find that they are entirely worth it. About thirty tennis players gave them the thumbs up. What else do you need before you try them?
Here is the crust and topping after cutting in the butter.
The crust will look like this after pressing into the pan with your fingertips.
You can make te crust and topping a day ahead if you like. I did find myself in the middle of my kitchen with soft butter and flour almost up to my wrist saying to myself, “ What in the world am I doing and this looks like it might be a big mistake.” But it really all worked out after I calmed down a bit. Working with butter with warm hands and when it is a 100 degrees outside can make for a little bit of a mess. I can totally tell you how to get it under control without throwing it all in the trash. You are going to love these!
Blueberry-Pecan Bars adapted from The Best of Fine Cooking
Yield 12 large or 48 bite-size bars
Crust and Topping
- 1 cup of toasted pecans, divided
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into large cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of paper hanging over the edges of the two long sides to help remove the finished bars.
- Roughly chop 1/2 cup of toasted pecans. Quartered is about the right size. Set aside.
- Put the remaining 1/2 cup of toasted pecans in a food processor and process until finely ground. Put in a large bowl.
- Add flour, powdered sugar, and baking powder to the ground pecans and stir with a fork to blend.
- With a pastry blender, two knives, or a fork cut in the butter until the largest lumps are the size of fat peas.
- Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
- Lightly beat the egg and yolk. Take out 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture and save for the next step if needed.
- Add the egg mixture and the vanilla to the flour mixture gently tossing with your fingertips until the mixture clumps together. It should be uniformly blended, moist, and crumbly . If it looks to dry add the saved egg mixture a little bit at a time. I did not need the extra egg. ( Here’s where I wanted to pull my hair out! My hands were very warm and the mixture just stuck to my fingers. Try using a flour on your fingers to mix and make sure that the you placed the mixture in the refrigerator before adding the eggs. The original recipe did not include that step. I think that the butter is too soft to work with if you don’t put it in the refrigerator)
- DON’T HANDLE THE DOUGH TOO MUCH!
- Divide the dough in half.
- Using floured fingertips, pat half the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. ( I found it easier to cover the dough with plastic wrap then press the dough with my fingertips.)
- Place in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cover the remaining dough and place in the refrigerator. ( this will be the topping)
- Remove the pan from the refrigerator and prick the crust all over with a fork.
- Bake until the edges are golden and pastry is dry and light brown, 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees in the center of the oven.
- Let it cool completely or the bars will be soggy.
- 6 cups fresh blueberries, picked over
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a large bowl, combine berries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Toss gently to coat the berries.
- Scatter the berry filling over the cooled crust. Spread the berries in an even layer.
- Crumble the reserved dough over the berries. It will not cover the filling.
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes and then sprinkle the remaining toasted pecans on top.
- Continue to bake until the topping is puffed and golden and the filling is bubbling not only near the edges but also close to the center of the pan for another 50 to 60 minutes.
- Put the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.
- Use the parchment paper and remove from the pan.
- Using a long serrated knife cut into 48 bite sized bars.
The Teacher Cooks