Ahhh, another lovely week of summer in Chicago. Where we all wore coats and gloves and blankets to the 53 overcast and windy baseball game on Saturday. Where I decided that no, it isn’t time to turn off my oven for the season, and I can make one more sweet treat before I resort entirely to the grill.
Of course, my first choice was chocolate chip bars, but then I decided that maybe I should be nice to Little Miss and see if I could make something dairy-free instead. I thought about what I could do for awhile, and I finally came up with an idea. And luckily, I had frozen blueberries in my freezer — as opposed to sitting on my counter? — so we were in luck.
I present you with…
Blueberry Crumble Bars
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t baking powder
3 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1 c shortening – if you aren’t dairy free, use butter and it will taste even better
1/2 t almond extract
4 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 orange, zested
1/2 c white sugar
1 T cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup each brown and white sugar, 3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening, almond extract and egg. The dough will be crumbly.
Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries. Add the orange zest, and mix again. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust, then crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes then turn up the heat to 400 degrees for the last 15 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
My husband, who claims to not like dairy free desserts, went for seconds while I was putting the wee ones to bed. His second square about about 3×3″. He pronounced it a winner, and Little Miss asked me to make it again. I think I will. Once summer in Chicago ends — assuming it ever starts!
It reminds me a lot of my mom’s blueberry streusel coffeecake without pretending to be something that’s for breakfast that I instead eat anytime I start getting hungry, whether it’s 8am or 9pm, once it’s made. I like that it’s lighter and more unique than a lot of the bar recipes I have.