verwhelmed by the amount of fresh blueberries in your kitchen after your recent picking expedition or CSA delivery? Fear not! This recipe uses 4 cups of those bountiful berries and will provide you with a (fairly healthy) breakfast or snack for several days. And don’t be deceived by the title… though these bars may be flavored with spices also found in Thanksgiving pies, I think you’ll find them a welcome treat year-round. Another plus, they’re quick to throw together and quick to clean up. My favorite.
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz aka The Post Punk Vegan QUEEN
Makes 12 bars
For the crust and topping:
3 cups spelt flour (I was lazy and used AP flour since that’s what I had in my cabinet. It still turned out delish)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance brand)
3 Tbsp non-dairy milk (I used organic vanilla soy milk)
For the blueberry filling:
16 oz (approx. 4 cups) fresh (or frozen) blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
*I used fresh blueberries, so I can’t vouch for how this turns out when using frozen berries.
**Be sure to rinse fresh blueberries before beginning.
1. Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking pan.
2. In a medium-size bowl, mix together the flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt with a wooden spoon.
3. Add the shortening, little by little, by holding the shortening bar firmly in one hand and a paring knife in the other. Gripping the knife like you’re giving a thumb’s up, slide the knife through the top of the bar by closing your hand. This will bring the knife toward you until it reaches your thumb. Then use your thumb to push the just-sliced piece of shortening off the knife and into the bowl. Repeat until finished. (I apologize if my Cooking 101 has made some of y’all yawn, but not all of us were lucky enough to have a mom, grandmother or whomever take the time to show us how to use a knife and make biscuits from scratch, where this technique also comes in handy)
4. After the slices of shortening are in the bowl, cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter or two butter knives held together. (I recommend going ahead and getting a pastry cutter so you can also make them biscuits!) Rock the cutter through the dough, frequently turning the bowl to cut in all of the shortening. Do this for a minute or so until the dough becomes crumbly. At this point, add the non-dairy milk by the tablespoon. Use clean fingers to combine the milk into the mixture after each addition, until moist, pea-sized crumbs form.
5. Now turn on your oven and preheat it to 350° F.
6. In a separate, medium-size bowl, stir together the blueberries, 1/2 cup of sugar, cornstarch, water, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt.
7. Scoop 3 cups of the dough into the lightly-greased baking pan and firmly press it into the bottom to form the base of the bars, trying to make it as even as possible. Then spread the blueberry mixture over the base. Sprinkle the remainder of the crumbly dough over the blueberries. I evenly covered the blueberries so I would have the sugary crumbs in every bite, but if you want a more — vintage?– look, feel free to distribute the dough a little irregularly to show off the blueberries.
8. Bake for 45 minutes.
9. When ready, the crust should be golden brown and the blueberries nice and bubbly.
10. Cool completely (yes, completely! Patience, young padawan.) before cutting into the bars with a pizza cutter and eating.
Personally, I think these bars are best after sitting a few days in the fridge. Then they are more cakey and, somehow, sweeter!