My Grandpa Frank planted nine blueberry bushes in the 70s, that produced a lot of good pies and jams through the years, but prior to this, our source for pies and jams, that mother would make, were to scour the woods for wild huckleberries. My brothers and sisters would occasionally help gather the berries, but it was usually me who stayed with the task so we'd have enough for a pie or a batch of jam.
The huckleberry (blueberry) is one of the three fruits indigenous to North America (cranberry and Concord grape are the other two). Although a kin of blueberries, they're color and taste are more distinctive--darker and a lot of people say, sweeter. Also, it is much smaller than the cultivated blueberry, so you definitely need to pick a lot more to use in recipes.
I was created these cookies with my grandson-Ari, in mind. He is the Blueberry King and whenever I ask him what kind of cookies he wants me to make for him, his answer is usually, "Blueberry." These cookies are simple to put together and you'll notice I've left out eggs and leavening. I wanted more of a shortbread-like cookie that would ship easily and still be fresh even if it took a week or more in transit. Ari and his dad are headed for Spain in 10 days, where they'll live for the next nine months and I don't want them to miss out on any homemade treats while there. Seems like a win-win cookie to satisfy Ari's blueberry fix!
Blueberry Pie Cookies
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. Almond extract
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup dried blueberries
Additional granulated sugar in a small bowl
Preheat oven to 375F-degrees. Soak dried blueberries in hot water for about 15 minutes.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2-3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Add the extracts and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour, 2-cups at a time, beating well after each addition. Once you have all four cups mixed in, you will notice the dough looks crumbly, but it should hold together when you gather some up in a ball.
(*Baking tip--When measuring flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then level off.)
Drain the blueberries well, then stir into the dough to incorporate.
Use a baking scoop or a large spoon to measure the amount of dough--the balls I did are about the size of a golf ball, but you could go smaller. Place the scoop of dough in the palm of your hand and roll into a balls. Next, roll the balls in the additional granulated sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet.
To finish these off--I decided to use a tool my mother gave me over 40 years ago, a meat tenderizer.
Admittedly, I haven't used it for that purpose for over 20 years, but it has come in handy to crush potato chips or pretzels for cookies or Fritoes for my Thanksgiving stuffing, but today, I used it to press down the balls with a beautiful pattern. If you're not in possession of such a tool, the criss-cross of a fork will do the trick although, I think this pattern resembles a "lattice" pie top!
Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
This shortbread cookie, loaded with blueberries is a perfect bite with a cup of tea when friends drop by too. Enjoy!