July 28, 2008

cookie carnival!

Have you heard of the Cookie Carnival? It's an event in which Kate of The Clean Plate Club assigns the groupies a different cookie recipe to make each month. Sounds like fun, right?


This month, the assignment was Blackberry Almond Bars. They consist of a nutty, buttery shortbread crust (frankly, you can stop right there!) topped with a curd made from blackberries. I amended the recipe in three ways. First, I greatly prefer blueberries, so that's what I used. Second, I used an 8x8" dish rather than a 9x13". Finally, guess what I added to the crust? Go on, guess! Oh, you'll never get it. Cinnamon. Of course. I think I might have a problem.


(Yeah, it could've benefited from some powdered sugar to cover those blemishes. I kinda overlooked that part of the instructions.)

I've never curded before. (I have an aversion for the word curd, most likely because it rhymes with turd. Apparently, I'm a nine-year-old boy trapped in the body of a 25-year-old woman. Moving on.) The curding process seemed like quite a bit of trouble, but I can't deny that the end result was mighty tasty.


I'm fairly certain that Kate is always looking for new cookie bakers, so if you're interested, let her know!


And don't worry--it's safe to post this recipe, as it's also on the Williams Sonoma website.

Blueberry Almond Bars
(adapted from this recipe)

Shortbread:
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground toasted almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Blueberry curd:
1 pint blueberries
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly butter an 8x8" baking dish.

To make the shortbread, combine the butter, flour, almonds, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt until small lumps form. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until the shortbread is golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Meanwhile, make the blueberry curd: In a food processor or blender, puree the blueberries until smooth. Pass the puree through a chinois set over a bowl, using a pestle to press on the solids and extract as much juice as possible; discard the solids. You should have about 1/2 cup juice.

In the top pan of a double boiler or in a nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until blended. Then whisk in the blueberry juice, salt, and lemon juice. Set the top pan over but not touching simmering water in the bottom pan, or set the saucepan over medium-low heat. (If using a saucepan, take care not to heat the mixture too quickly.) Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula or spoon, until the mixture is warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Begin adding the butter a little at a time, stirring each addition until blended before adding more. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until a finger drawn across the back of the spatula leaves a path, 8 to 10 minutes more. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Pass the curd through the chinois set over a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk to blend, then pour the curd over the shortbread, spreading it evenly to the edges.

Bake until the curd is set, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into individual bars, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Dust the bars with confectioners’ sugar before serving. (Oops.)


(Gratuitous Longaberger shot, just for you, Misti!)

62 comments:

Lore said...

That blueberry curd looks fantastic so I'm actually glad you didn't hide it under confectioner's sugar :)

Lori said...

mmmm. curd. (even though that word curdles my stomach a little bit, too.) this looks SO GOOD! i've never tried this with blueberries, and heaven knows, i have a freezer full of them right now. setting this post aside for the coming weekend's baking!

dessertobsessed said...

that looks so superb. i love how you manage to incorporate blueberries into everything!
and btw, you've been tagged!!

http://dessertobsessed.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/tagged/

Beth said...

Blackberries are just coming to fruit over here - theres a whole load just near my house. In fact I was going to go 'blackberrying' later today - will have to make these, they look delicious.

Sharon said...

I add cinnamon to everything whether it deserves it or not. I think your blueberry almond bars are much deserving of the world's greatest spice!

Kim said...

Grace- I can always count on you for a good chuckle in the morning. Blackberries or blueberries this looks so good, especially with the addition of cinnamon.

RecipeGirl said...

Phew... I just read through Alosha's blog on that copyright fiasco. What an absolutely messed up interaction between them, eh? Stupid. It's just a silly recipe after all.

I like to make bar-type things in 8x8 pans too so that they're thicker and thus prettier. These look awesome.

noble pig said...

Oh wow, that's an amazing bar! Curd...blueberry...yum.

Melanie said...

Wow, those look great! And I've never curded before either...might need to give it a try.

Vera said...

Grace, the cookies are fabulous! They don't need any icing sugar dusting - look great without it.

Pam said...

Those look so good!!!

OhioMom said...

Oh yum, another blueberry goodie for me to try. Those look fabulous!

Katie B. said...

Never in a million years would I have thought to curd some blueberries. I happen to have some spare yolks in my freezer - and I'd been thinking a citrus curd... but your blueberry curd sounds way more badass.

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I love shortbread crusts, and to top it with blueberries? wow!

eatme_delicious said...

Ooo yes these look delicious. I've never even thought to make a curd out of berries.

Leslie said...

Curd..Turd..LOL your funny!!These look yummy even with the Turd..oh, I mean curd!!
Thanks for you coffee comment..I too love cinnamon..I pour about 2 Tbsp of cinnamon on my coffee grounds before I brew it and it is soooo yummy!!

Albany Jane said...

Yum yum yum! I don't think they needed the powdered sugar at all - they look splendid!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love the blueberries instead of blackberries. It looks terrific. I might have to join! The only problem is if I bake it, I eat it....I might have to connect a treadmill to the stove.

Jeena said...

Grace I love any kind cookie bar and yours loks soooooooooooo good! Sounds like a great event too. Blueberries would taste yummy in this recipe I agree. :-)

Sophie said...

hA! Grace, you always make me laugh! I feel the same way about the word curd...and I've had some pretty funky experiences with curds :). Yours looks perfectly creamy and not chunky (like mine :P!).

toontz said...

Oh, Grace, those bars look sooo good!
I would like to go back in history to the person who put that name to such a delicious creamy concoction and give her/him an open-handed smack to the forehead...WHAT were you thinking???!!!! The word "curd" just sounds rude to me, lol!

At any rate, I have experimented with lime/ginger curd, tangerine/ginger curd and lemon curd. Looks like blueberry is next on the list...Great job.

Bunny said...

Grace this looks good and the blueberrie with the lemon would make it refreshing. i've never made curd before, i wanted to make lemon curd but I couldn't get past the word curd, it just didn't make it sound like it would be good. but seeing your "curd" makes me want to try it now.

Lorraine E said...

d, that's a new one I must try! I've only had lemon, passionfruit and strawberry curd. Haha curd rhyming with turd, my husband would say the same thing!

virjennifer said...

they look absolutely fabulous! I'm sad I had to sit out this month.

Great job!

p.s. I have a love affair with cinnamon too!!

Veronica said...

Those are some pretty looking bars...I love blueberries. I'm older than you and I've never "curded" either so don't feel too bad-you sure did a nice job, maybe I'll throw caution to the wind and try.

KJ said...

I'm a curd addict. But now I'm a bit worried what that says about me! I love the sound of blueberry curd.

Rayrena said...

Wow, I never thought about making my own curd. The blueberry curd looks delicious though. I've never like the word curd because it reminded me of a cow chewing it's cud. I do love curd though.

canarygirl said...

Oh my dear Lawd! Blueberry curd? I might love you more than is considered appropriate after seeing this.

gkbloodsugar said...

Move over Cheesecake! This looks great.

The Blonde Duck said...

Thanks for your sweet words! I'm happy to have met a sweet girl like you through the world of blogs! :)

Robin Sue said...

Oh my these look amazing. I am loving the blueberries that are out right now, and shortbread, be still my heart! I feel the same way about the word curd. It makes me giggle.

Emiline said...

They look mighty tasty! Didn't I just see this on Tastespotting?!

EWWW! Turd. Gross. I don't like the word, curd, either. Bleh. That's what I say.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful! Those bars look scrumptious! Thanks for the recipe!

Cheers,

Rosa

Zoe Francois said...

These look incredible!

I just bought a flat of blueberries and needed some inspiration for what to make with them. Thanks!

Núria said...

I still haven't dared to move into the sweet side... but I admire your ability in this one!!! I could just have a bite now (tea time is getting near ;-)

carmencooks said...

wow, these look gorgeous and so delicious! i prefer blueberries too, so I'll try it with those. :) thanks!

LyB said...

Blueberry curd, wow! And I thought you could only make citrus curd, silly me! Those bars would be fabulous with a cup of coffee right about now... :)

kellypea said...

Rhymes with turd. Bwhahahahahahaha! You'd fit right in at our dinner table. Yum on these bars. Seriously. And I NEVER thought of making anything but lemon curd. DOH! Jeez, do I get out muchly?

Julie said...

Those look pretty and tasty! I'm with you on the blueberries. I just made a similar almond crust for lemon bars and loved it.

cookinpanda said...

Yum.
Blueberry curd! This is very new territory for me, but I've been thinking of ways to use up tons of blueberries. Great inspiration!

Y said...

Sounds like a dangerous club to belong to! Glad to see you've finally curded ;)

Dawn said...

whoa! I have never heard of these before. How creative.
You took a perfect pic too.
Wonderful recipe girl!

Mrs. L said...

What blemishes? Girl I'd eat those cookies so fast no one would ever know anything about any blemishes!

Marilyn (Simmer Till Done) said...

Goodness, Grace - I'd say they look delicious, but I believe that's been said! Okay, they look - EXTRA delicious. Scrumptious! Bar-licious!

I think you created a stampede.

Kevin said...

Those look so good and blueberry curd sounds amazing!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

What a great recipe! Love the almond and blueberry combo!

ovenhaven said...

I've never curded before either, but your blueberry curd sure looks good!

crunchbot said...

1. blueberries are amazing & your curd looks divine.

2. if evveryone cooked with cinnamon... the world might just be a better place.

3. im so trying this recipe asap. thanks!

tastymealsathome said...

YUMMMMMY We have to try this at home!

Jacque said...

Wow, yours look really terrific! Your curd stayed purple... mine turned this ugly purplish brown. But they were good... very good.

diva said...

cool food event!! and these bars look awesome. the perfect tea snack. i could have one of these in the shop now..sigh...i think it's time for my lunchbreak. don't wanna starve to death!

Stacey said...

What a great idea to add cinnamon. I think I'll have to try that next time.

Pamela said...

First of all, I well never again see or hear the word "curd" without thinking "turd". Thank you for that laugh! The cookies look beautiful!

lilmizlynn said...

Yours looks great! :)

wyndesnow said...

oh those look yummy and adding the cinnamon to the crust what great idea! I may have to make them again and try the cinnamon. Wait, I have to try making them several other ways. Oh well the kids loved them!!!!

Psychgrad said...

Looks great Grace! Giz and I just joined the cookie carnival too - so I'm looking forward to seeing what's up next. If this past month is an indicator, it's definitely be good.

kamailesfood said...

Your bars look great. I really enjoyed the blackberry curd, but blueberry sounds just as good.

Dana said...

The blueberry bars look great and that shot of the Longaberger dish made me smile -- my mom has the ENTIRE pottery collection in blue!

Roni said...

Wow. *Blueberry* almond bars sound just about perfect. Great idea!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Your bars look great! I was worried that the powdered sugar would meld into the curd, so I topped mine with toasted almonds and then powdered sugar.

Eleanor said...

I was really excited about this recipe because I too LOVE shortbread and blueberries. I'm not sure where I went wrong, but my bars didn't come out well. My curd was a very light purple - not dark and jam-like as yours appeared. I'm sure I'll try this again though. :)

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