Less than 5 miles from our house is a pick-your-own blueberry farm. Two years ago, I met up with a few friends and our kids for a morning of blueberry picking. I had visions of coming home with gallons and gallons of freshly picked berries - what would I possibly do with them all?? Instead, the berries were scarce, the sun was hot, and the kids were cranky. To say it was an utter failure would be a total understatement. To put it in perspective, we picked berries for almost 2 hours, and I paid 60 cents for my "bounty." We all agreed then and there that we'd never do that again. From then on, I vowed to do my berry picking at the the grocery store or farmer's market.
But this year I decided to give it another go. Blueberries are Caroline's favorite fruit, and now that she's a bit older, I thought that she might enjoy picking her own berries. But this time I planned better. We set out quite a bit earlier, and since it had rained the night before, the weather was nice and cool. In probably 5 minutes, I had picked more berries than I did the entire time before. There were plenty down on Caroline's level, and she had her own bucket for collecting them. We picked and picked, and eventually Caroline got tired of it, because she dumped out her bucket and filled it up with leaves and twigs instead. Oh well. I ended up picking almost 2 pounds in just under an hour, which was plenty for some baking and snacking.
We came right home and made these bars. I wanted to find an egg-free treat that Caroline could not only help me bake, but that she could enjoy as well. These were a cinch to throw together, and we had a fun time making them. They reminded me a bit of Nutrigrain bars, and Caroline of course loved them. I think these would be great with any combination of berries or fruit, and I can't wait to try them in the fall with apples or pears - you know, that I pick myself of course. ;-)
Berry Oatmeal Crumble Bars
adapted from Baking Bites
- 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tbs cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, softened and cut into 7-9 pieces
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
To a food processor, add all the ingredients for the crust and crumble topping. Pulse in 1-second intervals until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 1/2 cups for the topping, then press the rest of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Use a spoon to drop dollops of the berry filling over the crust, and use a spatula to spread the mixture over the entire surface.
Use your fingers to squeeze together clumps of the remaining crumble topping, and sprinkle evenly over the berry filling.
Bake until golden-brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely before slicing and serving, or serve cobbler-style by scooping with a spoon.