I know, we’re all in back-to-school mode, and I’m still clinging on to summer. As I always do!
Just one last hurrah for the berries, okay?
I made these Fresh Blueberry Squares a couple of weeks ago, and really wanted to get the recipe up for you guys.
The original recipe for these blueberry squares comes from my Let Them Eat Vegan book. I’ve since modified them to replace the oil and make them fully gluten-free. (Side note: for those wondering, the recipes in LTEV are not heavy with oil, and some don’t have any oil, but it isn’t a fully oil-free cookbook.)
Growing up we ate a lot of date squares. My mom used to make them, and she also bought them occasionally. These blueberry squares are a twist on date squares.
One difference: these squares are not nearly as rich. I remember date squares being very rich with butter or shortening in the crust, and also quite sweet.
These fresh blueberry bars are just sweet enough, and not overly rich. You can enjoy a square (or 2 or 3!) and not feel sickly.
Quick tip: Do include that bit of lemon zest in the base and topping. While it seems like an unimportant ingredient, it lifts and enhances the flavors.
Oh! And you can also use frozen blueberries in this recipe, but while fresh blueberries are still abundant in markets, why not go for fresh?!
That’s it, kids. Hope you enjoy them, and good luck with September happenings. I’m organizing a sweet back-to-school giveaway, and will post that soon!
Fresh Blueberry Squares
- 3 cups fresh blueberries can sub frozen
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1/2 tsp agar powder
Base and Topping:
- 2 cups rolled oats see note
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1/4 tsp sea salt rounded (or 1/2 tsp scant)
- 1 ½ tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 - 2 1/2 tbsp coconut butter softened
For the filling: in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, salt, and sugar. Cover, and let the berries start to soften and release their juices, stirring occasionally. Once berries have broken down and the mixture is becoming more like a sauce, reduce heat and let simmer for 7-8 minutes, covered. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice with the arrowroot and agar, and stir through until combined (it will be thick). Get ready to add the arrowroot/agar blend to the blueberries by first removing 2-3 tablespoons of the warmed blueberries juices and stirring into the arrowroot slurry, one tbsp at a time. This will help loosen that mix and also temper the arrowroot and agar, making it less likely to clump in the sauce. After it has loosened, add it to the blueberry sauce, immediately stirring it through. Increase heat slightly to bring mixture back to a boil for just a minute or so. Then, remove from heat and transfer mixture to a bowl and let chill in refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming on top of the mixture.
Meanwhile, prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients including zest. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir through until well combined; the consistency will be crumbly yet hold together somewhat when pressed. Transfer about 2⁄3 of the mixture to a lightly oiled (or lined with parchment paper) 8x8 pan and press in evenly. Pour the chilled (can still be slightly warm) blueberry mixture on top, then sprinkle on the remaining crust mixture. Bake for 25 minutes, until the blueberry filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown in spots. Transfer to a rack to cool, and then to the fridge to cool completely before cutting into squares.
Savvy Subs and Adds: Quick oats can be substituted in whole or part for the rolled oats, however the texture of the squares will be different. Using the rolled oats, the squares will have a chewier texture and a nuttier flavor, whereas the quick oats become softer and also absorb more of the moisture of the blueberry layer.