Thursday, August 5, 2010
Blueberry Crumb Bars
Well, by 6:00am on Wednesday I already knew it was going to be a crappy day. My first clue, I was in Arizona sitting in an airport waiting for a flight that going to take me away from the hubby for another month. Sometimes I wonder if the leaving justifies the visit. It definitely sucks.
On top of that, the hubby called me after he dropped me off, and he got a flat tire just a couple miles from the airport that he couldn't change it because the car jack was rusted. Double fail. Bad things are suppose to happen in threes. I think the rusted jack counts as a third?!?!?
Oddly, the making of these blueberry bars went similarly (although not quite as catastrophic). Blueberries were on sale this week at the grocery store, so I was looking for something to make with our supply. Unfortunately, I needed a recipe that would accommodate only 1 egg, not quite enough flour, and a lack of any citrus fruit to zest. I ran across Dorie's recipe here on Tracey's blog and hoped that it would hold up to my necessary substitutions.
After a quick google search to look for egg-replacements, I ended up with a recipe that matched my ingredients. I subbed 1/2 c. of orange juice for 1/2 c. of buttermilk to add citrus flavor, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce for my missing egg, and after scraping the bottom of the storage container, was only 1 teaspoon short on the amount of flour used to coat the blueberries.
The verdict on the finished bars: pretty dang good. They were moist, perfectly crumbly, and my blueberries didn't even sink. Let's hope this day ends up being half as good as these bars.
Blueberry Crumb Bars
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
For the Crumbs:
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
For the cake:
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries (if frozen do not thaw)
2 c. plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2/3 c. sugar
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.
To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and combine until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed. This can also be done in a food processor. Scrape the topping into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed. The covered crumb mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days if needed.
To make the cake: Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 teaspoons of the flour together in a small bowl to coat the berries. Set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Add the butter and with the paddle or whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don't be concerned if the batter looks curdled - it will smooth out. Mix the buttermilk and orange juice together. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the berries.
Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Break the crumb mixture into pieces and scatter over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (mine was done at 50 minutes). Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.