Welcome To My Gluten Free Website!

Welcome To My Website!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Blackberry Shortbread Bars *Updated!

These are to die for!
June 3, 2014
So, I made an interesting discovery this past weekend about unsalted butter brands. As we all know every brand of butter on the market whether it's from the local grocer's, or a wholesale restaurant supply establishment, has different amounts of butterfat, and it can be made from cow's milk, milk and cream, or just cream. A well known manufacturer of butter in California, now has a query email from me regarding the disastrous outcome of this particular recipe. I had not used their butter before as I generally purchase the butter that we use from Costco, or a local restaurant supply source. I used my original recipe of 4 parts flour mix, 1 part butter, and 1/2 part sugar with this CA butter brand. The results were horrifying! The product was so dry that it could not be pinched or pressed into a crust and have it hold together. So I had to start adding more butter one Tablespoon at a time, AND sour cream. THEN and only then did it hold together. This was quite upsetting, so I have adjusted the amount of butter and added the sour cream for YOUR recipe, and I hope you have a wonderful product in the end!
What you will see re-worked below is the old amounts in black, and the updated amounts in red. My suggestion is to start with the amounts in black as the butter you use might not need to be increased, and you might not need the sour cream. If you do need extra, add the additional butter amounts one Tablespoon at a time, and add the sour cream at the very end only if needed.
I've never baked from scratch at high altitudes so you're going to have to make further adjustments - Please let me know how your bars come out and what amounts you used, I will give you full credit here on my site. ; }

I took three different streusel bars for snack at our final dress rehearsal for the Concordia University Christmas Concerts. Needless to say they were a fanfare success! There were **plum butter and apple butter bars
which were regular wheat flour based. Yes, I do still have regular wheat flour as there's way to many people in my family, my clients and friends to make all the goodies gluten free. These specialized flours are quite costly in comparison to regular wheat flours. 
While everyone else can eat the "old way," I still take gluten free for me to events, and wouldn't you know, most everyone else wants to try the gluten free. So I take enough to share at smaller events, and have usually squirreled some away at home-just for me!

It is very easy to change the flavor of these bars, just pick your favorite gluten free jams, preserves, conserves, or fruit butters. 

**There is a special note about fruit butters at the end of this recipe.

I love the fruity edges! They are intense and wonderfully
chewy, as the fruit has "caramelized" a bit.

These make a great buffet presentation to share, or great Christmas goodies to give. They can sit upon a festive give-away plate, or into a cellophane bag tied with a pretty bow.
Gluten Free Streusel-Shortbread Bars
You will need a 9" x 13"/22.86 x 33.02 cm rimmed baking pan, 
Non-stick cooking spray,
Parchment paper

4 cups - Jeannes GF AP Flour Mix - you will reserve 1 cup of prepared cookie mix for the streusel topping
*1-1 1/2 cups - butter, room temp but still cool, you don't want it "melty"
*1 Tablespoon organic sour cream (it makes just that little bit of difference needed for a moist crumb)
*1/2-1 cup - powdered sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 325˚F/162.8˚C,  spray non-stick cooking spray lightly onto your baking pan , and line with parchment paper leaving "handles" as shown in the photo. These are really helpful with removal of the slab from the pan, making it easier to cut.

#1 Prepared pan with parchment paper handles.

2. Mix the butter, sour cream, and sugar on medium high until well incorporated, turn speed down to medium low and slowly add in the flour. Mix well. The crust should feel moist but not soggy so when you pinch some it will stay together nicely, and not so dry that when you pinch some it crumbles back into pieces.

3. a.) I like to use a cooking fork to break the dough into clumps for easier distribution. Remove 1/3 of the dough and reserve it for the streusel topping. 

#3 a.)  Gently breaking the dough up.

3. b.) Using your hands, pull the remainder of the dough onto the prepared baking pan and distribute the crumbles evenly over the surface. Firmly push and pat the dough into place as smooth and evenly as possible. 

#3 b.) Crust crumbles.

4. Bake for 30 minutes only. Do not try to brown the crust or it will be over baked in the very end, as it is cooked twice. Remove from the oven.

#4 Par-baked crust ready for fruit topping.

Fruit Topping
18 ounces/510 g blackberry preserves or any flavor  (I used Knotts)
8 ounces/226.8 g fresh blackberries 

5. Gently mix the berries and preserves together in a small bowl. Spread entire berry mixture over the whole crust, completely to all edges, smoothing evenly. 

#5. Spreading the fruit layer.
6. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture in small to medium clumps over the fruit mixture, completely to all edges letting berry mixture peek through.

6. Sprinkling streusel crumbles.

7. Bake for another 35-45 minutes,  or until you see the fruit mixture bubbling, and the streusel crumbles are just barely turning a light golden color.

#7. Streusel topping is very lightly golden. 

7. Let the bars cool completely before cutting. With a small knife, run it between the long sides of the pan and the cookie dough. Firmly grasp the "handles" and lift the cookie slab from the pan directly onto your cutting surface. 
I usually cut these in 1" x 3"/2.54 x 7.62 cm, it makes a nice little pick up piece. As you see in the photo, it's a big help to measure out the cutting guidelines and pin-point with toothpicks. A large pizza cutter is a great tool for cutting bars of every type.

#7 Toothpick guidelines.



8. To serve - arrange on a platter or cake pedestal, separating the layers with waxed or parchment paper. Keep refrigerated if not serving immediately. Longer storage should be in an airtight container, refrigerated or frozen.

#8. In the end I had three layers on this platter separated by
waxed paper that I had cut to match the shape of the platter.

**Fruit butter hint - fruit butters have a tendency to "leak, or run". Your best bet is to "drain" the fruit butter before mixing with the fresh fruit and then spreading it. If you don't, all of the liquid that's leaking will be absorbed by the crust and will take much longer to cook, most likely giving you a soggy undesirable crust. You are aiming for a tender, crisper, yet buttery cookie crust.

**To drain fruit butters
Line a mesh sieve with 3 layers of cheese cloth, pour in the fruit butter and let it drain over a bowl, about 30 minutes or so. Very gently twist the cheese cloth over the bowl to help extract any remaining excess liquid. Don't twist and ring it too hard or you will press the fruit butter through as well! (This is kind of like removing the whey from runny yogurt which leaves you with thick - Greek style yogurt).
Discard the run off, and go back to step 5.

Yay! Betcha can't eat just one!