Monday, January 24, 2011

Blackberry Shortbread Bars

It's been a couple weeks since I've posted a recipe for something sweet, and these pretty bars are so delicious that I just have to share them with you.  I got the recipe from another one of my favorite bloggers: The Little Kitchen That Could. (Click HERE to see her post.)

Let's be honest - part of the reason why this dessert is so amazing is because it's loaded with butter and sugar... which is why these little bars are going straight to the office tomorrow morning.  I don't think my waistline would survive if they stayed in my kitchen, tempting me all week.

You'll need:
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. container of sour cream
1/2 cup flour
16 oz. bag of frozen blackberries

About an hour before you plan on making these, set the bag of frozen blackberries in the sink to thaw.

Then, about 30 minutes before you start baking, prepare your butter by cutting it into 1/2-inch cubes and placing it on a plate in the freezer.  The butter needs to be very chilled for this recipe so that the crust gets nice and crumbly.

When the blackberries are no longer frozen, rinse them and let them hang out in a strainer or colander for a few minutes so that all the juices drip out.

When you're ready to start baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a 9x13-inch glass dish by spraying it with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt with a whisk for about 30 seconds until all the ingredients are combined.

Pastry Blender

Add the cubes of chilled butter. To mix in the butter, The Little Kitchen That Could used a food processor for about 30 seconds, but I used a pastry blender (also called a dough blender or pastry cutter).

It takes longer (about 8 minutes of blending by hand), but you'll definitely burn a few calories working the butter into the flour mixture.  Blend until the mixture is crumbly, and then set aside about 2 cups to use later for the topping.

Every once in while, use a knife to scrape out the butter that may get stuck in the pastry blender.

Set aside for the topping...
Spread the remaining mixture in the 9x13 dish, and firmly press the crust to the bottom so that it forms an even layer. Bake this bottom layer for about 20 minutes or until the crust just barely starts to turn a golden color.

While you're waiting for the crust to cool for about 10 minutes, make the filling by blending the eggs, sugar, sour cream, and flour with an electric mixer on low speed for about a minute.

 Gently fold in the thawed blackberries with a rubber spatula until the mixture turns a lavender color.

Next, spread the filling over the crust.

Sprinkle on the crust you set aside earlier.  (This top layer will be much thinner than the bottom.)

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown. (Side note - These little guys are funny when they're baking.  After about 40 minutes, a couple of air bubbles began forming underneath the crust and looked dangerously close to exploding.  So, I just took a butter knife and poked a few holes all the way through the bottom layer of crust to deflate the bubbles.  BUT they just re-inflated 5 minutes later.  Not quite sure what the experts would do in this situation, but I just kept a close eye on them and ended up stabbing them once more before the hour of baking was up.)

Let the bars cool to room temperature before cutting.

They're great for dessert, but also pretty phenomenal in the morning with a cup of coffee. :)

Enjoy! Sending you love from my kitchen.

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