Wednesday, June 25, 2014

blueberry shortbread bars.

As someone who is getting married fairly soon (less then 5 months ech!), I've had many people asking me about gifts and what we want.  I am terrible at answering such a question because I don't like telling people to buy me things.  Doing so feels entirely too awkward.  But then people insist which is extremely generous of them to do and then I am left trying to come up with something that is both practical and meaningful and awesome.  

(I am not someone who should be left in charge of picking practical presents.)

Tyler and I have lived together for just about 7 years (where did time go?) and during that time we amassed a lot things. Many of the traditional items that couples register for don't really apply to us.  Sure there are things we could upgrade (a new non-white bath mat would be pretty awesome since we have manged to destroy ours), but other then that we are pretty content with what we have. So I've decided the best thing we can be given is food because as far as I can tell we will always need to eat. Preferably a flat of Maine wild blueberries (or if you can't get your hands on wild blueberries I will settle for regular blueberries), sour cherries, and/or blackberries.  I will eat this fruit by the handful, then I will make pie, and then I will make jam, and then I will make a plethora of these shortbread bars that I will store in the freezer and save for when we have run out of fruit. Best. Present. Ever.

Blueberry Shortbread Bars 
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

The original recipe called for peaches and the peach version is awesome but blueberries are in season now so blueberries I will eat.  As you can tell, this can be adapted with any old fruit, I have visions of cherries (with some almond extract!) next.  God I love this time of year.  

For the bars

1/2 cup (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder
1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons (6 1/2 ounces or 180 grams) cups all-purpose flour or 1 cup all-purpose and 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons rye or whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) cold unsalted butter

Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg

For the berries

2 cups blueberries
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

In a bowl toss the blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, sugar, and ginger.  Set aside.  

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 8×8 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, spices, salt, and lemon zest with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Pour the blueberries over the crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

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