Blueberry Blackberry Crumb Bars

I sampled some blueberry crumb bars at a bridal shower a few years ago and they were so flavorful I have wanted to try making them at home ever since. Now that it is the height of the berry season I have created a version that I am very happy with. Instead of using all blueberries I have mixed them with blackberries. They are a bit messy, but worth every bite. I made them in a 10×10 pan I acquired in Paris 15 years ago; it works perfectly for this recipe. The bars are not too thick or thin, but just right. (If you use an 8×8 pan the bar cookies will just be a bit thicker.) I use wax paper to line the pan because it makes the bars much easier to remove and slice. I find that the wax paper tends to curl up in a cool pan, so the way I deal with this is to warm the pan for a minute in the preheated oven, remove it, then line the pan with wax paper and it stays in place.

Blueberry Blackberry Crumb Bars
Crumb Base and Topping
2 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 c. unsalted butter, cold
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Filling
2 c. fresh blueberries, rinsed
1 c. fresh blackberries, rinsed
3/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. water
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
pinch of cinnamon

For the crumb mixture: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Add lemon zest and stir again. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture and stir into crumbs by hand. Measure out 2 cups of crumbs and pat them into a wax paper-lined 10×10 pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until base just begins to turn golden around the edges. Remove from oven. While the base is baking, add cinnamon and vanilla to the remaining crumbs and set aside. Make the filling by combining in a saucepan blueberries, blackberries, sugar, 1 Tbsp. water, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil over medium, stirring often. Boil for 4-5 minutes until a syrup forms and the berries begin to lose their shape. In a small bowl mix cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. water. Add to berry mixture and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon. Spread filling evenly over pre-baked base then top with remaining crumbs. Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes until crumbs are set. Do not over bake. Cool on rack. Chill then cut. Makes 40-50 squares.

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