Thursday, January 23, 2014

Blueberry Jam Shortbread Bars

I recently made blueberry jam using this recipe.  We don't often have jam in the house -- probably because I'm too cheap to buy the good stuff and then forget to make it at home.  Anyway, I finally made a full batch of jam and then started thinking about other ways to use it (besides spreading it on homemade English muffins).   We loved the shortbread crust from the pecan pie bars I recently made and I thought it would also go well with the jam.  Spoiler alert: it did.

These jam bars were awesome. I loved the touch of almond meal that this crust included. It gave the bars a nice chewiness.  Of course, you could switch it out for regular flour, but I did love the addition!  And I love that these bars can be made any time of the year -- not just the few weeks in the summer when fresh berries are at their peak.

After eating most of the bars, I realized this recipe is similar to our blackberry cobbler recipe.  The difference is that these bars are more more portable! This especially came in handy because my husband was unexpectedly called into work over the weekend.  I was able to give him a bar or two so he could have something easy to enjoy while he worked some long hours.  Sweet success!

(Blueberry) Jam Shortbread Bars
Adapted from: Recipe Girl
Makes about 9 bars (you could easily double this recipe and cook in a 9x13-inch pan)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 + 2 Tbsp. cup almond flour, almond meal or very finely ground almonds (you could substitute more all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup blueberry jam, homemade or store-bought (you could also use other types of jam as well)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or other berries of your choice)
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. raw sugar or powdered sugar, for topping

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8-inch square pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown and granulated sugars together until creamy (you could do this with a hand mixer, stand mixer or by hand). Add vanilla and salt and beat again until well combined. Add the almond flour and all-purpose flour and beat or stir just until a smooth dough forms (I had to add about a tablespoon of water to help the dough come together). Divide the dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Press the other half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan to form the bottom crust.
  3. Bake the crust until it is just beginning to turn light brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.  Spread the jam evenly over the partially baked crust. If using, sprinkle with fresh or frozen berries. Crumble the refrigerated shortbread dough over the jam to form a crumbled topping. If using, sprinkle top with 1 Tbsp. raw sugar. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until the topping is firm and crisp and golden in color, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. If using powdered sugar (I omitted), sprinkle lightly before cutting into bars. 


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