Blackberry Bramble Bars

Blackberry Bramble BarsDespite my own personal views, apparently cupcakes are not the solution to every problem.  Sometimes you need to bake something for a brunch, for a potluck, or for a weekend treat and for some reason cupcakes just won’t work.  Sigh.  You don’t have to like it, but you do have to have a go-to, delicious, and simple recipe that will still get rave reviews.  This is it.  Plus, they have fruit in their name, so I’m thinking they’re probably very healthy.

Blackberry Bramble BarsI’ve been making a version of this with raspberries for years.  It’s delightful, my peeps like it.  A lot.  But when I started making this blackberry version, I never got a request for raspberry again.  Besides, why make raspberry crumble bars, when you can make Blackberry Bramble Bars?  Just saying “bramble” makes it sound like you read Jane Austen and take long constitutionals.  These bramble bars are the culinary equivalent of installing yourself on the moor for an afternoon, earnestly painting the hills and heather in watercolor.

A couple of tips:

  • Let the butter get really soft.  This shortbread crust also forms the base of the crumble mixture and has to be warm enough to form a short dough and hold itself in little clumps.  If your butter is too cold, you’ll get a coarse meal which will be fiddly to handle and form into the crumble.
  • You can use or not use the almond extract.  I put almond extract in my coffee, so I may not have the proper perspective on how badly something needs almond extract.
  • I like Bonne Maman and Hero jams.  If you can find one with seeds, it looks more like you took the time and trouble to mash real blackberries, but it tastes just as good with a seedless jam.
  • Let this cool completely.  I usually make it the day or night before then dust it right before serving with the powdered sugar and optional zest.  I think the lemon zest is a nice fragrant counterpoint to the sweet jam and buttery shortbread, but again, super-optional.
  • To cut these, try lifting the whole enchilada out of the pan with a spatula or bench scraper and cutting it on a cutting board with your longest knife.  You’ll get straighter, neater lines and you won’t scratch up the bottom of your pan.
  • And finally, try not to be left alone in the house with these.  You will find yourself returning to the kitchen to “even out the sides” or eat the crumbs that have fallen off into the pan.  It’s a slippery slope and the goal is to have some leftover for your guests.
Blackberry Bramble Bars
Leave a small border around the jam so that it doesn’t ooze out and make your bars stick to the pan.
Blackberry Bramble Bars
This is what the dough and granola should look like when you hand mix it.

Blackberry Bramble Bars
I always look for this granola. It’s good quality with no added nuts or dried fruit.

Print Recipe
Blackberry Bramble Bars
Blackberry Bramble Bars
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Blackberry Bramble Bars
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix butter and sugar together on medium speed until just combined. Add the vanilla and almond extracts on low speed.
  3. Add the flour and salt gradually and mix on low until it starts to form a ball. Press two-thirds of the mixture into the bottom on a 9-inch square baking pan, making a small lip around the sides. Spread the blackberry jam on the dough, leaving a 1/4" border.
  4. Hand-mix the granola into the remaining one-third of the dough. Breaking it into smallish bits, cover the jam layer. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Bake for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.
  5. Cool completely then cut into 16 bars. Dust with the confectioner's sugar and lemon zest.
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9 thoughts on “Blackberry Bramble Bars

  1. Well shucks. I’ve been following the raspberry version for years. Can’t wait to make this asap cuz I love blackberry jam more than raspberry.

  2. This will be fun to try! Looks delicious. Nice to have something for my little person to have as a treat since she’s allergic to eggs.

  3. OMG OMG OMG I just made these and they are insane! I did not use almond extract or lemon zest as these are not my favorite things (I know I am in the minority here!). I used raspberry preserves because the store where I shopped was out of blackberry. Also, I did not wait until they were cool to lob off 1/16 so I could taste them. I can’t wait for the fam to wake up in the morning and try these!

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