Monday, August 23, 2010
We're doing everything we can around here to squeeze a few more days out of summer. Over the weekend I got to cash in my Mother's Day tickets and sing along with Jack Johnson outside under the stars. (Come on over some time and I just might in fact make you banana pancakes.) It was almost cool that night, and while I can feel fall nipping at our heels there are still fresh, juicy berries to be eaten. These quick, not-too-sweet crumb bars are the perfect vehicle for blackberries, but I daresay they'd sit alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream quite nicely.
These bars are also a nice welcome home gift if, like me, you have recently welcomed a new niece into the world. Scarlett arrived last Thursday - a bundle of pink perfection - and she's already wide-eyed, taking in everything around her. (Or perhaps she's just watching and waiting for her big cousin Cash to accidentally bop her in the head again. But I digress.) Scarlett's mama might be the queen of chocolate-chip cookies, but it will be a while before she feels like roaming the kitchen in a baker's hat. That's where this easy-peasy recipe comes in. She gets to eat a blackberry bar, and I get to hold a beautiful baby.
Fair trade, wouldn't you say?
Blackberry Crumb Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 16 bars
While I haven't tried it I have little doubt that you can switch out the blackberries in this recipe for the berries you like best. Blueberries come to mind. And stone fruit, such as peaches, might also make a nice version, if blackberries and their tiny, crunchy seeds just aren't your thing.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
10 ounces of blackberries (2 containers)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan then line with parchment paper, allowing paper to overhang on the sides. Butter and flour paper, too.
2. To make topping: In a medium bowl, whisk melted butter, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add one cup of flour and mix with fork or pastry blender until ingredients resemble crumbs. Refrigerate topping until ready to use.
3. In a separate, medium bowl whisk 3/4 cup flour, baking powder and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
4. In a separate, large bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Lower speed on mixer and gradually add flour. Mix until combined. Spread batter in bottom of prepared pan. Spread blackberries across batter then sprinkle top with cold crumb topping.
5. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan. Lift out, holding paper, then cut into squares.