baking :: blueberry oatmeal crumble bars

I believe it took living sixteen years here in New England before I realized that blueberry picking was even possible.  Last summer was the first time my daughter and I made the drive up to Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA to try our hand at the pick-your-own blueberry experience.  It was a particularly hot and humid summer day, and as the sweat on my forehead fogged up my sunglasses I wondered why in the world we were even there to begin with!  (It was still fun and worth it … just sweaty!)

Fast forward to this year and a random day where the forecast predicted not-so-hot weather after we had several days in a row of sticky I’m-sweating-from-just-standing temps.  Bingo!  We had nothing else in our calendar so off we went to do some blueberry picking.

It was just barely 70 degrees out and the rain the night before had washed all of the berries.  It was perfect picking weather.  The search was on for the bluest and plumpest blueberries.  My picking partner and I plucked 3.6 pounds of delicious blueberries to haul home.

So what do you do with so many blueberries?  I ended up freezing most of them, but that was after using two cups in a recipe that I found for blueberry oatmeal crumble bars.   It’s a recipe by Averie Cooks and it is fantastic.  So easy to put together (all in one bowl! less mess!) and oh so delicious.  You can use fresh or frozen blueberries.

I love the texture and crunchiness of the oatmeal, and the topping is the same as the bottom crust.  I used fresh blueberries and cut the baking time down to 45 minutes (as suggested in the recipe) and they turned out great.  Be sure to line the pan with foil to help make clean up a cinch.

It’s also a very kid-friendly recipe if you have a little human lingering in the kitchen wondering how s/he can help out.  🙂  Crumbling the topping on top of the blueberry mixture was a favorite task for our daughter.

I think the key to making these bars a success is allowing time for them to cool down completely.  If you try to cut into them too soon after taking them out of the oven, the filling will be too gooey and it may not hold up.  Once they cooled down it was easy to peel the foil away from the edges and cut them into triangular wedges.

And of course, they taste super yummy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  Or in this case, Madagascar Vanilla Bean gelato!  🙂

We can’t wait to go blueberry picking again this summer before the season ends.  And hopefully if we time it right, we can pick some peaches too.

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