SMiLes by Meg

Blackberry Brown Sugar Bars

When I’m baking in my mom’s kitchen, I usually take a break from my normal cookbooks and use one of hers that I like: The Farmhouse Cookbook.  What I found out this week is that as cute as the cookbook is, it doesn’t actually have that many dessert recipes. I was flipping through it, trying to decide on something, and thought lemon blueberry bread pudding sounded like a great dessert for the meal my mom was cooking. Almost 5 years into this blog, I decided it would be a good idea to check before starting it. Turned out I had previously thought it looked good and already made it. So I had to find something else.

Which is how I landed on these. Blackberries are in season, and delicious, and bar cookies are more fun to eat than fruit pies. So while we had a family Moana viewing, I baked, and the next morning was thrilled to have fruit treats that could qualify as breakfast!

Start by making the shortcake bottom. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and confectioners sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat to combine. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Press into a 9×12 pan sprayed with baking spray. Prick with a fork a couple of times. Bake at 350°F for 16 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.While the shortbread is cooling, start making the topping. Beat the butter and brown sugar in the stand mixer (no need to clean it out) until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and lemon zest to combine. Fold in the flour and almond meal with a rubber spatula. When the shortbread is cool, spread it with blackberry jam. Then spoon the topping over the top and carefully spread to cover.  Sprinkle with blackberries and push some of them into the topping, but leave others on top. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for 30 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. When cool, cut into squares with a sharp knife. The topping will settle down a little bit and be less puffy. Transfer to a wire rack and let sit out until completely cool. Then, store in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper.

Enjoy!

Blackberry Brown Sugar Bars

Ingredients:

Shortbread Base

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup blackberry jam

Topping

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • zest from one lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/3 cups blackberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Start by making the shortbread. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and confectioners sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter and beat to combine.
  3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Press into a 9×12 pan sprayed with baking spray.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 16 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan.
  5. Next, make the topping. In the same stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the eggs and lemon zest to incorporate.
  7. Fold in the flour and almond meal until combined.
  8. Spread the blackberry jam over the cooled shortbread, up to 1/4 inch from the edges.
  9. Spoon topping over jam, then use an offset spatula to carefully spread to edges of pan.
  10. Sprinkle blackberries over the topping. Push about half of them into the batter.
  11. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle almonds over the top. Return to oven and bake an additional 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into bars.

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