Friday, June 30, 2017

Blackberry Jam Bars

I can't believe it's the end of June!  Where does the time go?  In a few short days, we will be celebrating July 4th; our Independence Day.  It was my mother's favorite holiday, next to Christmas and always one for lots baking and cooking while Dad was in charge in getting the Chesapeake Blue Crabs.  I loved baking for the big picnic at mom's and I think this would have gone over big for the dessert table.

Picking berries are one of my favorite chores to do, although I have to admit it was a little more "dangerous" with the possibility of snakes hiding among the brambles! Still, the end product was always worth the danger.

When we lived in the Pacific Northwest, these berries are called Marion berries and I've made lots of jam using them.  I've included the recipe for making the jam ahead of time, but you could certainly use "store bought" to shorten the time of preparation.  I think these bars are great on their own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and they can be frozen, which makes them perfect to do ahead of your picnic.

Blackberry Jam Bars

Blackberry Jam
8 cups fresh blackberries (it was about 3 quarts) rinsed
3 cups (600g) granulated sugar
2 T (30g) fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan (I used a 6 qt. Dutch Oven), stir together the blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice together.  Let stand for 2 hours.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Remove from the heat and use a hand blender to process until smooth.  Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding seeds/solids.  Pour liquid back into the saucepan.

Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-40 minutes until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature for 1 hour.  Transfer to a storage dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

2 cups (4 sticks) (454g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups (500g) King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 tsp. (10g) baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups blackberry jam
1/4 cup (30g) confectioners' sugar

In a bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Beat in vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the butter mixture, slowly on low speed until combined.  Divide the dough into 4 pieces and wrap in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Line a 13" x 9" baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping the sides and spray the bottom and sides with a baking spray with flour.

Remove two pieces of dough and use a box grater to grate the dough into the pan. Press down slightly on the dough.  Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Grating then freezing the dough before baking creates little air pockets that give the bars a crumbly texture, contrasting with the smooth jam center.

Grate the other two disks on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.  Remove baking pan from freezer and spread the jam across the top.

Sprinkle the cold grated dough over the top of the jam in an even layer.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown, covering the top with foil if necessary.  Remove from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes.  Use the parchment paper to pull up on the bars (or I use a springform pan and remove the sides!)
Once cool, give the top a generous sprinkle of confectioners' sugar before serving.  You can freeze these bars, if desired, in an air tight container.  Happy 4th! Enjoy!


  1. Oh my goodness Susan--I love blackberries and have many childhood memories of picking them alongside the roads. Mama never made jam as the four of us always wanted to have blackberry roll. Your bars look delicious--I love the grating of the dough--Neat process! Enjoy your weekend. XOXO ♥

    1. I know you'd love these--They're all gone at our house!

  2. I love bars. These look great, but I am lazy and that method of grating the dough is too labor intensive. 🙃 Happy Fourth of July!

    1. Doesn't take long to grate...less than 5 minutes and I love how they turned out!

  3. Those bars with homemade blackberry jam look out of this world, Susan. Are those berries from your own garden?

    1. Unfortunately the berries are not from my garden, but there is a farm near us where I can pick, so just as good. Since we now live in an area where copperheads are indigenous, I'd rather not temp them into my yard with berries, although I did plant some blueberry bushes.

  4. I adore blackberries, second only to raspberries. I don't make jam, though, I make jelly, but look forward to anything blackberry in the early autumn.
    What a fascinating technique, grating the dough! One I will most certainly try.

    1. This method for the blackberry jam was so easy and I loved knowing they were fresh! One of my favorites too...and they freeze well:-)

  5. I love picking berries. It is soothing to my soul. I bet this would work great with raspberries, as we have no blackberries here.

    1. I bet it would be wonderful with raspberries!

  6. Ohw my goodness, these look just delicious! I love blackberries too. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  7. Use store-bought or homemade jam to make these incredibly easy blackberry jam bars.