Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Blueberry Jamble Shortbread Bars
I have looked at this recipe in the Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey book dozens of times thinking I would make it, but one thing or another always got in the way. Finally yesterday I had the time and a brand-new full jar of blueberry jam. The recipe actually calls for blackberry -- but close enough.
You would think that with a recipe this easy though that I could make sure I got it right... yeah, not so much. First I thought I had enough jam, but I was short by almost a full half cup... luckily it still tasted great despite that. My other mistake is that I forgot to top the bars with almonds before the final baking, which was too bad because I think the crunch of the almonds would have added a lot to the whole experience.
Despite those two mistakes though, these were very good bar cookies. I kept eating the dough before I baked it which is usually a sign of a good dough. The recipe calls them shortbread, and if they are shortbread, then they are one of the best ones I've had -- I don't tend to like shortbread, but I loved these. Of course, maybe it had something to do with the entire pound of butter in the 9x13 pan....
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup almond flour or very finely ground almonds
1 1/2 cups preserves
1/2 cup chopped almonds
powdered sugar for dusting (which I also forgot)
Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer set at medium-low speed, beat until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
Beat the all purpose flour and almond flour into the butter mixture on low speed, just until a smooth soft dough forms.
Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and press one third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm and cold, about 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325.
Bake the bottom crust until it is firm and just beginning to turn pale brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and spread the preserves evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the jam to form a pebbly, crumbled topping. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until the top is firm and crisp and lightly golden in color, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temp.