Blueberry-Oat Bars 
 
I am already counting down the days until blueberry season returns and sadly there are a lot of them left.  Though I suppose since their season is short, it makes me appreciate them more.  Fresh blueberries are so delicious on their but often times even better baked into a pie, muffin, scone or other treat!  When fresh berries aren’t in season, I pick up a giant bag of Wyman’s frozen wild blueberries from our local warehouse club.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck baking with frozen blueberries.  I’ve tried most, if not all, of the well-known tricks that are supposed to stop the berries from bleeding, but nevertheless I always seem to wind up with purplish-blue baked goods and even if they taste fine, I can’t get past their appearance.  Needless to say, it’s been a challenge to use up that huge bag of berries.  So I felt like I’d hit the jackpot when Kristin posted this recipe for blueberry-oat bars that called for 2 1/2 cups of frozen berries!
 
Blueberry Oat Bars 

This recipe was a cinch to throw together and depending on how large you cut the squares, the recipe yields quite a few bars.  I spread the love around by sharing some with my neighbor and some with my family.  Though Kristin warned that the bars were just barely sweet, I was still a bit surprised when I took my first bite.  I knew immediately that these bars fell squarely in the breakfast category because they weren’t remotely sweet enough for me to consider them dessert.  In fact, I’ll probably increase the sugar just a bit when I make them again, even if I plan to have them for breakfast.  As I’ve mentioned before, I like everything super sweet so don’t be deterred from giving the bars a shot – they are quite tasty with lots of blueberry goodness!  You definitely won’t feel guilty about enjoying one for breakfast and that’s a very good thing in my book. 
 
Blueberry-Oat Bars
 

Blueberry-Oat Bars

from The Kitchen Sink Recipes (who adapted the recipe from the Byerly’s/Lund’s Magazine)

 

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, line with a piece of parchment (allowing the sides to hang over the pan) and then spray the parchment with more cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Using the large holes of a box grater, shred the butter into the flour and oat mixture.  Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the mixture until it resembles pebbles or rice. 

In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk, lemon juice and vanilla.  Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and, using a fork, stir until everything is just combined.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the sugar and cornstarch several times.  Add 1 cup of the blueberries and pulse until the berries are minced.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the remaining whole blueberries.

Press half of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan to create an even layer.  I found it easiest to do this by placing a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the oat mixture; otherwise, the oat mixture stuck to my fingers too much.  Spread the blueberry mixture evenly over the oat crust.  Dollop the remaining oat mixture on top of the blueberry mixture, distributing it evenly across the entire pan.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until the blueberry mixture is bubbling and the oat mixture is golden brown.  Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.  Remove and slice into square- or rectangle-shaped bars.