Jumbleberry Crumble Bars
The other day as I was picking up some berries at my local farmers market, a crazy wave of panic washed over me. Why? Well, I looked down at my baskets of beautiful berries and thought, "OH NO, should I have loaded up? When's berry season end? What month is it right now?" Lucky for me, and for you too, the season is not over yet. THANK GOODNESS because, JUMBLEBERRY CRUMBLE BARS!! And, yes. I know. Caps are obnoxious, but I love them 'cause irl (in real life) I like to shout all the really exciting words like JUMBLEBERRY! Isn't jumbleberry an awesome word? It's 100000xs more fun that 'mixed berry.' I mean really, who wants to say mixed berry when you can shout JUMBLEBERRY. It's so happy and fun and totally gets you super pumped for all the yummy berries that are out there right now.
These bars are pretty simple to mix up (you make the same mixture for the crust and the topping!!), however, they definitely stray from what I dub the 'traditional crumble bar.' You know what I'm talking about. The super buttery, dense, almost shortbread style bars. These are not those. But gosh, don't get me wrong for a second, I luvvvv those and would mop those up in a heartbeat. Still, there's something to be said about a lighter, more cake-like crumble bar. And served warm, with a giant scoop of vanilla or sweet cream ice cream...MMMMM!! MMMHHMMM. Damn good. So these are that kind of bars. And they're pretty darn good. Good enough to convert even die-hard shortbread style crumble bar fans to at least admitting how darn good they are (yes, yes, I always enlist taste testers, for quality control ;D).
These bars are adapted from some blueberry crumb bars Smitten Kitchen made forever ago. Deb's pretty awesome, and she was also one of the first blogs I ever read and fell in love with (Deb = Smitten Kitchen). A couple quick notes, I peeled and grated a small baking (sour) apple and added it to the berry mixture since my mixture was three-quarters strawberry, raspberries, and blueberroes (all berries that don't have a lot of pectin). Apples, and actually blackberries, have a lot of pectin, so they help to thicken your berry filling when it bakes. Try not to skip this ingredient!! You don't want soggy, liquidy bars!! Also, when you're sprinkling your berry filling, please don't feel obligated to pour all (or any) of the berry liquids leftover in the bottom of your bowl over your bottom crust. I usually pour a teeny-tiny bit over just for fun, but you can totally leave it out if you're worried about them getting soggy. If you've tossed the berries well, they should be plenty coated with everything they need! And that's it for notes. Happy baking!
Jumbleberry Crumble Bars
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 12-15 bars
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. chilled, unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
- 1 scant Tbsp. fresh lemon thyme leaves, finely minced
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 small baking (sour) apple
- 4 c. mixed berries (I used 1 c. blackberries, 1 c. blueberries, 1 c. raspberries, and 1 c. strawberries)
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. ground arrowroot
- 9 x 13-inch baking pan
- Mixing and glass bowls
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Fork or pastry cutter
- Wooden spoon or silicone spatula
- Box grater
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter a 9×13-inch pan.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup granulated sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Whisk in salt, lemon zest, and minced thyme. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg until it looks crumbly. Don't over mix! Pat a little more than half of the dough into the buttered pan.
- Peel apple then grate using the largest hole in the box grater. In another medium mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, combine the light brown sugar, ground arrowroot, and lemon juice. Gently mix in the apples and berries. Sprinkle the berry mixture evenly over the crust (if there's any remaining liquid in the bowl, don't pour over crust). Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown.
- Let cool for at least 1 to 2 hrs before cutting.
- Serve and enjoy!
Note: These bars are best served warm!