Vegan Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Bars

20140827-DSC_8185After seven weeks away, it feels GREAT to be back in the kitchen. I know a lot of people cannot wait to travel, so that they get a break from cooking. But for me…it was the complete opposite! As much as I had an amazing time travelling through Europe, I really, really missed my kitchen and being able to whip up a dish or a pan of something whenever I felt like it. We’ve been home for about a week now and I’ve been in the kitchen pretty much anytime I’ve had some spare time. It’s been great to get my hands dirty again! I’m not too sure that my husband agrees. The kitchen has been a bit of a mess thanks to me! Oopsie! Ah well…I pay him back in treats such as these blueberry lemon shortbread bars, so don’t feel too sorry for him :)

Throughout our trip, I kept a notepad with me, so I could write down all the recipe ideas that I came up with during our travels. Many of the recipes were inspired by the places we visited. It was wonderful getting to sample so many different authentic foods from all of the different countries. I’ve only had a chance to try out a few of my ideas, but I look forward to sharing them all with you very soon.

In the meantime…here’s a recipe for the tastiest of summer treats! We are nearing the end of blueberry season here in Canada, so I wanted to bake something with blueberries before the fresh, local berries vanished into the  dark and dreary depths of winter. Yes…I’m being dramatic. These bars are sweet yet tart and oh-so buttery! They are easy to put together and make the perfect light summer dessert. Heat them up and top with some coconut ice cream or coconut whipped cream for an extra special treat. Scrumptious!

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Vegan Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes

Yield: 12 squares

These blueberry lemon shortbread squares are perfect for a late summer treat. They are sweet, tart and oh-so buttery. A great way to use up the last of the fresh blueberries.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of vegan butter such as Earth Balance, softened
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (for the crust)
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (for the filling)
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (3 for a more tart square)
  • 4 cups of fresh blueberries, well-rinsed
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375'F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt and lemon zest. Mix to combine.
  3. Slowly add the flour in two separate additions and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside one cup of the mixture. Press the remaining dough into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  4. For the blueberry filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir in blueberries and coat evenly with the sugar mixture. With a wooden spoon, gently mash the blueberries until some liquid is released. Pour over the crust.
  5. For the pecan topping, combine the reserved crust mixture, chopped pecans and butter. Sprinkle over the blueberry lemon filling.
  6. Bake at 375'F for about an hour, or until the blueberry lemon mixture is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Source: adapted from Canadian Living Magazine

Comments

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Kare! It’s funny – I filled up a whole notebook of ideas while we were away. I had to buy another notebook yesterday, as I had more ideas since I got home. But then my husband pointed out that I’ve been writing WAY more than I’ve been cooking. *haha* And that the recipes won’t make and blog themselves! haha!

    • thefigtree says

      Awe, thanks Caitlin! :) It’s great to be back. Had a wonderful vacation, but now – back to business (ie.baking). *haha*

    • thefigtree says

      Haha! You just missed being my guinea pig :) Glad to be home and back blogging again. I’ll bring some treats over soon! xo

  1. says

    Traveling can be hard, especially for those of us who have the habit of cooking & baking for ourselves. There’s always a point when I’m on vacation, when I’m tired of eating out all the time. It’s fun at first, but eventually we just want our “home” food. These blueberry shortbread bars are a perfect way to celebrate being back in your own kitchen. Welcome home!

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Janice! It’s so true. The first week, I was in heaven trying all of the tapas around Barcelona. But then I started to miss being able to just make a plain old sandwich or a huge bowl of pasta. I started to miss “home” food so much. But, at the same time, I sampled a lot of neat dishes around Western Europe and now feel so very inspired to try to recreate the dishes at home. Love to go away and love to come home.

  2. says

    There comes a point in every trip when I just want to be back at home, in my own bed and using my own kitchen. Luckily, it takes me quite a while to hit that point! I love the idea of writing down recipe ideas as you find new dishes along the way. It’s going to be a great way to commemorate your travels.

    Those blueberry bars look wonderful!

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks for the comment Teresa :) I agree – I am really looking forward to trying to recreate some of the dishes I had while in Europe. They will bring back so many memories. And this way I can share some of the yummy dishes I had with my friends and family too.

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks for the comment Jo-Anna! :) I agree – blueberry and lemon are the perfect pair! I love the combination of sweet and sour that they provide. Plus the lemon just really brightens up the flavour of the blueberry.

  3. says

    Court!! I know exactly how you feel! I love seeing new places and experiencing new foods and flavours and meeting new people but man ALIVE I miss my kitchen when I go away!! I don’t know if it’s because I inherently live for cooking, or if because I know how to cook things exactly how I like them or it’s just out of habit (pretty sure that 86% of my time is spent in my kitchen) but I toats get it.

    PS. The loss of berries come winter is indeed, worthy, of drama. I might have to make your shortbread bars for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year. They count, right? ;)

    So glad to be a part of FBC with you!! xo!

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Kristy! :) I am super excited to meet you in person at FBC in October!

      I am glad you understand how tough being away from the kitchen can be! I definitely spend most of my free time in the kitchen too. I felt a little lost while travelling. I compensated by reading cookbooks non-stop on my iPad. *haha*

      Yes! I agree – they would be great for Cookie Swap. Even though they use summer ingredients, who doesn’t love the combination of blueberry and lemon? :)

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