Blueberry bars and California wine country. The two will forever be joined in my mind. I cannot think of one without the other. Then I think of all the other memories from this one particular trip to Napa/Sonoma/San Francisco and it makes me smile. It all started with a raffle ticket. One little raffle ticket, ticket #00001 to be exact. I won two round-trip tickets on Air Tran. Yippee!
It took .00001 seconds to know where I was going. That was a given. I asked my friend Terry if she would want to go. My husband had been there with me recently and he didn’t want to go again so soon. Besides, Terry sold me the winning ticket. It was for her daughter’s high school band fund raising event.
I took Terry on my whirlwind winery tour. It starts promptly at 10am or earlier when the wineries open. One stop along the way is Oakville Grocery to check out their awesome goods and fresh foods. We looked around bought a few things and headed for the next winery. By the end of the day and many wineries later we were exhausted. We decided to stop again at the Oakville Grocery and pick up a few things for a light dinner. I spotted these blueberry oatmeal crumb bars and got one for dessert. Oh heavens it was the best blueberry bar ever. It was a big one too. I saved half of it for breakfast the next morning.
We had a fabulous time on the trip. Half of the week was in Napa and Sonoma and the other half in San Francisco. We ate, drank, shopped, went site seeing, and so much more. One place we visited was the Conservatory of Flowers. There were the most incredible flowers there. The orchids were out of this world. Out in front of the conservatory was a bed of dahlias of so many colors and sizes. Terry wanted to take a photo to show her sister the size of them. She told me to lean in so my head would be a reference. That photo is the one I use for my avatar and profile picture on all the social media sites.
I have so many great memories of the trip. Wine country, blueberry oatmeal crumb bars, flowers, food, wine, and a special photo. Most important is the treasured time spent with a dear friend. See why it makes me smile?
Do you like blueberries? You should also check out my blueberry donuts, cream cheese tart, and muffins. I certainly enjoy them and will always be looking for more recipes. Who knows which blueberry recipe I’ll share next. Stay tuned…
Blueberry Oatmeal Crumb Bars
For the filling:
- 3 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the crust and crumb topping:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup light brown sugar tightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter diced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
In a medium saucepan, add the blueberries and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until blueberries are tender, about 8 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the sugar mixture to the pan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened. Transfer filling to a medium bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
For the bars:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9- X 13-inch baking pan.
In a food processor fitted with a knife blade, add the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse one or two times to combine. Add the diced butter and vanilla. Pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in a bowl to be used for the topping.
Pour the remaining crumb mixture into the baking pan, spread evenly, and pat down. Place filling in small dollops over the crust. Carefully spread the filling evenly over the crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the filling.
Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Slice into 20 bars. Serve at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from one on Baking Bites website.