Fresh blueberries are one of my many weaknesses. I can’t pass them up at the store or farmers’ market, no matter how hard I try. From early on, I remember eating blueberries by the fistful as a little kid. (I’m sure my mom loved scrubbing all those giant purple stains out of my clothes!)
Every summer, our family would pile into the blue Volvo and hit the road for the long car-ride up to northern Michigan where we’d spend a week at my grandparents rural country home. They lived on a river in the middle of the woods. Our summer vacations there were filled with fireworks on the driveway (the illegal kind!), plenty of mosquito bites, hikes along the railroad tracks, fort-building in the woods, scanning our bodies every night for deer ticks, bird-watching on Grandpa’s lap, and a whole lot of blueberry picking.
Wild blueberries speckled the Michigan forests like big purple gems. After hours of picking (but mostly just eating), we’d return home where my mom and Grandma would bake pies like there was no tomorrow. Neighbors would begin dropping in as if they could smell the pies from miles down the road. They’d eat a slice with a cup of coffee, gossip with Grandma about the latest town “doings,” and then be on their way.
With summer stretching out ahead of us, I headed into the kitchen the other day with blueberries on my mind. They’re my favorite summer fruit and are tied to many a happy memory. These bars turned out slightly sweet, slightly gooey, and entirely delicious. They’d make a perfect picnic dessert, just in time for the Fourth of July.
Blueberry Oat Crumble Bars
Makes 16 bars
For the blueberry filling:
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch whisked with 1 tablespoon water
For the crust and crumble topping:
1 ½ cups gluten-free rolled oats, divided
½ cup (48 grams) blanched almond meal/flour
¼ cup (27 grams) arrowroot starch
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an 8×8-inch baking dish with coconut or grapeseed oil. Set aside.
Make the filling: in a small pot over medium-high heat, bring the blueberries, agave nectar, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil. When it is boiling, stir in the arrowroot mixture and cook for 30-60 seconds until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process 1 cup oats, almond flour, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt to form a coarse flour. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the remaining ½ cup oats, grapeseed oil, applesauce, and water to form a dough.
Press ¾ of the dough evenly into the bottom of the greased baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the blueberry filling over the crust. Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the top of the filling. Bake for another 18-20 minutes until the topping is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
If you’re looking for more blueberry recipes, visit this month’s SOS Kitchen Challenge at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs, where the featured ingredient is blueberries!
Cooking up something tasty for Independence Day? Submit your recipes for The Spunky Coconut’s “Our Spunky Holiday” recipe round-up.
Looking for more healthy, gluten-free recipes? Visit Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free.
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