Why don’t I bake more often?! These blueberry shortbread bars were incredible. And so, so, so easy!
I actually only made them because I had some blueberries left over from my summer fruit tarts. I wanted to make a sweet treat with them, but since my baking skills are usually not anything to write home about, I decided to stick with an old favourite: shortbread! It never fails me.
These blueberry shortbread bars start with a plain layer of shortbread, then there are plenty of juicy fresh blueberries, and it’s finished with a sugary, crumbly shortbread topping. It’s like a sandwich, but about fifty million times better.
When I say that this shortbread recipe is an old favourite of mine, I mean old. The basic shortbread recipe actually comes from this cookbook, which my family seems to have owned since about the sixteenth century:
Okay, so it was only published in 1977, but you get the point. Considering I wasn’t born until more than a decade after that, it seems like we’ve had it since the beginning of time. Look at those colours! That’s not just bad lighting, those colours are actually true to life! Couldn’t get more 70s if it tried.
This shortbread recipe was pretty much the only thing I ever made growing up – I’ve made it so. many. times. These blueberry shortbread bars are obviously a jazzed up version, and I’m so glad I decided to do something a bit different with it this time, because it couldn’t have worked out better!
Layering up the shortbread like this creates so many gorgeous textures – crispy on the bottom, crumbly on top… plus, where the blueberry juice seeps into the shortbread, you get a beautiful gooeyness that I just can’t resist. The blueberries cook right down and get really juicy – it’s almost as if these blueberry shortbread bars contain blueberry jam, even though it’s just 100% fresh fruit.
In case anyone else is doubtful of their baking abilities like I am: these are so easy. The crumble topping is made from the exact same mixture as the shortbread base, so as long as you can rub butter into flour, you’re about 95% of the way there. And if you can’t – just do the ‘show me the money’ gesture into a bowl. That’s all there is to it!
Blueberry shortbread bars
- 125 g plain flour
- 50 g caster sugar plus an extra 2tbsp
- 100 g cold butter cut into several chunks
- 150 g fresh blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4 / 350°F).
- Combine the plain flour and caster sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (or you could use a pastry cutter if you have one).
- Press about two-thirds of the shortbread mixture onto a lined baking tray (mine measured around 11 x 7 inches). Be sure to press it in firmly to help it hold together.
- Scatter the blueberries across the shortbread, and sprinkle over the remaining breadcrumb-like shortbread mixture. Top with a couple of tablespoons of sugar, and bake for around 30 minutes, until the shortbread is light golden brown and some of the berries have released their juices.
- Allow to cool completely, and then cut into squares with a pizza cutter.