Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blueberry Bars

Since I started this blog, I've noticed that all of my cookbooks are old. I haven't bought a new one since I was divorced 14 years ago. Part of the reason was financial. When you are raising a child on a very small income, there is no money for luxuries like books. Probably the biggest reason why I stopped buying cookbooks was that I was cooking for a picky eater.

Cooking for a picky eater is sheer torture. Especially if you are like me and like to experiment with new ingredients and new techniques. Or even just variations on old standbys. With the advent of the internet, I could do a little experimenting for only the cost of the ingredients, my time and aggravation. But I miss leisurely leafing through a cookbook and discovering a great new recipe. So I've begun buying cookbooks again.
One of my recent purchases was from Better Homes and Gardens, their Our Best Recipes book. Silly me, I should have realized that it would just be a rehash of the recipes on their website but it is definitely more fun paging through the book than clicking around a website. Of course, all cookbooks come with "extras" these days. The "extra" with this one was a thin pamphlet called "BHG Favorite Bars & Cookies" again, a rehash of the website. I've actually made a few of these already and reviewed them here!
I had a few problems with this recipe. The first was cutting in the butter. It doesn't say to soften the butter first but I can't imagine trying to cut in cold, hard butter. It was difficult enough trying to cut softened butter into oatmeal! Combining frozen blueberries with anything is problematic. I don't know why they aren't defrosted first. I also didn't want to buy an entire lemon just for a little peel so I used the bottled stuff. It tasted fine. I used blueberry Polaner All-fruit rather than regular preserves. Perhaps that is why it was impossible to spread the blueberry mixture entirely over the crust. And how do you get 25 "bars" out of a 8" pan? Those are bites, not bars! But, in the end, it all came out delicious.
Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper!
Blueberry Bars
(Source: BHG Favorite Bars & Cookies)

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup bleuberry, raspberry, or strawberry preserves
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

1. Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with foil; set aside. In a medium bow combine rolled oats, flour, and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pieces are pea-size. Set aside 1 cup of the oat mixture for topping. Press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

2. For filling, in a small bowl combine the frozen blueberries, preserves, and lemon peel. Carefully spread the filling over crust. Sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture, pressing lightly into blueberry mixture.

3. Bake about 30 minutes more or until the oat topping is golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes about 25 bars.

Recycle: preserves bottle

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