Blueberry Crumb Bars

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Since the birth of my daughter and the end of my military service, I've been home so much that one would think I would have done a great deal of baking. And I did make (and quickly consume) a few dishes in the first couple weeks I was home. But the truth is that despite, or because of, my robust sweet tooth, baking has always been more of a social endeavor for me. I bake, and then take the baked goods to my office or send them with my wife to hers. Not only does this curry favor with our co-workers, it prevents us from gorging ourselves on sugary goodness.

Still, sometimes I can't resist the urge. This is never more true than when the grocery store runs a special on blueberries, which are dear to my heart but not my wallet. So when Whole Foods had cartons at 2 for $5, I bought them first and figured out what to make after. There's a coffee cake recipe that I've made a dozen times, and muffins are the obvious choice. But I wanted to try something different, and these Blueberry Crumb Bars were just the ticket. A few adjustments based on the All Recipes reviews and we were in business:

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pinch cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat your oven to 375F. Grease and flour 9x13 inch pan. Stir together the white and brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Blend in the shortening, egg, and vanilla extract. Divide the dough in half and set aside one half for later. Add the water and lemon juice to the remaining dough and stir until just moist. Spread the wet dough evenly in the pan, and bake for 5 minutes.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch, then add the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust, and crumble the dough previously set aside over the berries. Bake for 45 minutes, then cool completely before cutting.