Blueberry Crumb Bars

Hi, my name is Henri and I'm a university student. Weird.

I started university this past Tuesday. I wasn't really nervous or anything the night before. Actually, I wasn't really nervous at all which is weird because I don't really consider myself a super social person? I had this laser focus for all my courses. I figured that the whole making friends thing would just somehow happen.

I didn't really talk to anyone the first few days... There wasn't really an opportunity to get to know people during lectures or anything, so I went the first few days with little social interaction with new people (I did have one friend from high school, so it wasn't that big of a deal). Apparently it's hard to make new friends when everyone else has their entire high school friend group in all their courses...

I made a goal to talk to someone I didn't know every day. And it worked pretty well. I made a few acquaintances (but nobody was best friend material because my friends are all sarcastic turds, and I'm apparently able to judge whether someone is best friend material within a few minutes).

While I was figuring this whole friends business out, I was struggling with my four courses... I didn't realize how much stuff would be taught. I was completely overwhelmed. On the third day, I was like Ugh, I hate university. I want to drop out. and Maybe I'll drop out of science and go into arts (nothing against arts students but the course load seems way lighter). I even Googled "hate university" because that's apparently what you do when you hate university...? I guess it was comforting to know that lots of people have trouble with the transition from high school to university. I thought I was well-prepared, but apparently not.

Entrance scholarships are a funny thing. I have to get at least a 3.00 GPA for my first two semesters and it just worried the heck out of me. I just felt so much pressure. This was literally three days into university, and I was already freaking out.

Somehow, things just work out. Frosh was yesterday, and it was absolutely amazing. I got to meet a bunch of new people, and I think I can say I made a bunch of new friends? Maybe. Also, now I have some study buddies so I won't be completely swamped. I just feel like I'm at a good state of mind right now.

I'm rocking out to American Girl in my living room while my family is asleep, so I guess that means I'm happy. Or just crazy. Or maybe I AM AN AMERICAN GIIIIRRRRRRRLLLLLLL.

These bars were the last thing I made before I started university. Sometimes, I feel like healthifying recipes because the thought of using butter disgusts me (I love butter but it's a love-hate relationship). This recipe is a result of me not wanting to use butter. The crust is made with coconut oil, which I love using because it makes me feel all fancy and stuff. I guess it ended up being accidentally vegan (I say accidentally because I don't really feel like anything was substituted). It's also whole wheat. Who would have guessed?

These bars are a great end-of-season blueberry treat. The crust is surprisingly flaky considering that no butter is used. The whole wheat flour gives a bit of nuttiness, which compliments the blueberry filling quite well. The filling becomes almost jam-like, and it's not overly sweet. The crumb topping gets a little crisp, which gives another texture to this dessert. It's a keeper.

Blueberry Crumb Bars
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie and Smitten Kitchen

I'm not really sure how powdered sugar is supposed to be measured, but I packed the powdered sugar to get 50 grams. Also, coconut oil is really finicky to measure. I use a scale (because scales are way cooler), but melting coconut oil and measuring it should work as well. I melt coconut oil by putting it in a metal bowl and putting that over hot water. Apparently I don't like cleaning saucepans or turning on the stove...

Yield: 9-16 bars (I cut them into 12)

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups (192 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (86 grams) coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups (280 grams) fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang (alternatively, you can grease the pan).

To create the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add in the melted coconut oil and vanilla extract, and stir together until crumbly. If you grab a bit of the mixture and squeeze it together, it should form a clump. If the mixture is a little dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it comes together. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the pan.

For the filling, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Add in the blueberries, and toss to coat. Pour the blueberries over the crust. Sprinkle on the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the berry layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown (it's kind of hard to tell so I grabbed a bit of the topping to check if it wasn't doughy anymore). Remove onto a cooling rack for about 20-30 minutes.

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