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Monday, July 15, 2013

{recipe: happy food} happy lemon-blueberry shortbread bars

She must have been two years-old at the most. It was an early sunny Saturday morning and we were standing in front of one of the organic farm stands at the farmer's market.

She tugged at her dad's hand. "Blueberries. Please." In front of her, just above her head was a table stacked with green cartons of purple hued blueberries, so ripe you could smell them baking in the warm sun. I watched her reach a chubby hand up and point to the berries. Then the best thing happened. A teenager, a boy, who was stacking cartons in the pick up truck behind the stand came around to the front of the booth. He took a carton of blueberries off the table and crouched down in front of the toddler, holding the basket up to her.

"Would you like some blueberries?" he asked. She nodded and carefully she chose what was to her the ultimate blueberry and then another and another. It was the kind of moment that makes you love the farmer's market.

It was just a moment. As I paid for my blueberries, so did the dad, who smiled at the teenager and his unexpected kindness.

I thought of this moment today when I made Happy Lemon-Blueberry Shortbread Bars. I felt a bit meditative as I prepared the dough and washed the blueberries. I was grateful for the farmers who grew the fruit, the rain that drenched the plants and the sun that warmed them. As they baked in the oven, our home smelled cozy and happy and tonight as my husband and I sat together in the evening sun sharing a shortbread bar I was overcome with happiness. Every night should end with shortbread, warmed summer fruit and someone to love.

{Recipe} Happy Lemon-Blueberry Shortbread Bars


1/2 cup butter, diced into small cubes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
      grated lemon peel (from 1/2 a lemon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon ice cold lemon juice
3/4 cup fresh blueberries (rinsed and dried)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

15 minutes before starting to bake, grate peel of 1/2 of one lemon and set aside. 

Juice 1/2 lemon and place juice in freezer.

Place diced butter (in a separate bowl) in freezer. 

Mix together flour, sugar, salt, grated lemon peel, baking powder and cinnamon. Remove butter and lemon juice from freezer. Add cold diced butter to dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender (or a knife and fork) cut butter into dry ingredients.  Add egg yolk and continue to blend dough together until it resembles clumpy beach sand. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and continue blending dough. 

In an ungreased 8x8 pan, add 3/4 of the dough, pressing dough firmly into bottom of the pan using a spatula. Sprinkle blueberries over the dough and add remaining dough over the blueberries. (It's OK if all the blueberries aren't covered.)

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden. 

Cool and slice into bars. 

Delicious for breakfast on the go!

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