Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Berry crumble bars recipe

I will admit, I do like Martha Stewart.  She's a little prickly, but there's something about her I enjoy.  So, when I was looking for dessert recipes to use up some of the surplus berries we bought at the grocery store, I decided to try Martha's blackberry crumb bar recipe.  They're some of the best bars I've eaten, and naturally, I was thinking, "hey, that would make a good blog post!"

I made a half batch of these the first time and there was an enormous amount of topping, but I was ok with that; the second time I made them, I made a half recipe again but poured the batter into muffin cups and halved the amount of topping.  The muffins were better-received than the bars: my husband, who is a vehement sweets-disliker, ate two of them.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures of the bars or the muffins, so you'll just have to imagine their berry-studded goodness.

Suggestion: omit the berries and add lots of cinnamon (and possibly nuts) to turn this into a traditional coffee cake.

Berry crumble bars
Serves 9, maybe more if you're stingy


Cake base:

3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c confectioner's sugar
1 stick of butter (we're doing it Paula Deen-style here)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 pint of berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are good choices)

6 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 c flour


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line bottom of an 8-in square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.  The original recipe says to butter and flour the parchment paper, but that kinda defeats the paper's purpose.  The batter is very thick and sticky, though, so butter at your own discretion.

2. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients.  Mix with a fork until large, moist crumbs form.  Refrigerate until ready to use (this ensures the topping will be firm and crumbly after baking; if you skip this step, the topping will be sticky and not quite as pretty, but still very tasty).

3. In a large bowl, beat butter, vanilla, and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients and mix until a thick batter forms.  Spread batter evenly in pan; sprinkle with berries, pressing them down slightly.  Add the chilled topping.

4. Bake until golden brown and delicious and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.

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