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I have to tell you the truth. I am that guest who will show up for dinner with a homemade dessert, covered in golden streusel, and then proceed to pick off the topping. Should I apologize? Yes. Will I stop? Probably not. And if you say something then I’ll persuade you to give me your crumble topping instead. I have a deeply rooted love for streusel bits.
To satiate my crumbly cravings, these bars have the good stuff on top and bottom. Forget what you’ve been told, because we both know that in this case more is more. Getting extra with your baked goods is always worth it. On that note, take some extra time to brown your butter. Rule of thumb: butter is good. Brown butter is great. Especially when you use it in shortbread. That melt-in-your-mouth goodness alone is enough to make me weak in the knees. Stuff it with fresh blueberry jam and I’m all yours, heart and soul.
A few weeks ago I spent a few hours hunched over and carefully picking individual bluebs off the bushes, which quickly made their way into my pan. This dish was literally made by the sweat of my brow. Alternatively, you can run to the store and pick up a few pints of blueberries. In fact, get some extra. If you’re anything like me then you’ll be popping berries as you bake and before you know it, there won’t be enough left. These bars are tart and not too sweet, with that brown butter nuttiness that you’ll go crazy for.
Store them in the freezer for a cold treat or warm them up and top it with vanilla ice cream. Eat ‘em for breakfast, midday snackums, or a 3:30 AM craving. Just do yourself a favor and go make them!
For the Crumble
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/ 2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/ 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/ 2 teaspoon sea salt
For the Filling
- 2 pints fresh blueberries
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma, being careful not to burn, about 15 minutes. Immediately pour into a bowl and place in the fridge for 45-60 minutes, or leave at room temperature, until has consistency of softened butter.
In the meantime, make the filling. Cook the blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla extract in a shallow pot on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until reduced. It helps to smash the blueberries a bit as they break down. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a 9x9 pan with parchment leaving about 1-inch overhang.
Make the crust: whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add in the brown butter and use your fingers to combine, until it forms a crumbly dough that sticks together when pressed.
Press a little over half the dough into prepared pan. Spread the blueberry filling on top. Crumble remaining dough on top of the filling.
Bake for 60-65 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crumble is golden brown. Let cool before slicing into bars. Store wrapped in refrigerator or freezer.