Gluten Free Blueberry Crumb Bars (Dairy & Egg Free)

Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits.  Around this time of year, when the winter weather begins to subside (hopefully) and the warmer days of spring emerge, I begin to think about blueberries and look forward to July.  July in Jersey is prime time blueberry picking.  There is nothing quite like fresh, ripe blueberries plucked right from bush.  They are simply amazing

Our family tries to go blueberry picking each summer.  While we pick upwards of fifty pounds and keep many of the fresh berries, I rush to freeze as many as I can to ensure that we have berries to enjoy all winter and spring long.  It’s a good thought, right?

Well, a few years ago, after a berry picking trip, I froze ten large resealable bags of berries.  I buried them in our chest freezer in the basement in the hopes of saving them for the winter months.  Around October I went down to the freezer to pick up a bag of berries to use in a batch of pancakes.  When I opened the freezer I found two lone bags of berries left.  After asking my boys where all of the berries had gone, they admitted that they had made daily trips to the freezer to enjoy the frozen berries.

How can you be mad at that?  Blueberries are little nutritional powerhouses full of antioxidants.  If that’s what my kiddos are snacking on, I’m one happy momma!  Although I must admit: I was so looking forward to those berries this winter.  Looks like I will need to find a new hiding place for this year’s berries!

With frozen blueberries on my mind this week, I created these Gluten & Dairy Free Blueberry Crumb Bars.  This recipe is not only gluten free, dairy free, and egg free, it is also free of all fat or oil all together.  By using ripe bananas that have been chilled in the freezer, I was able to create a delicious crust bottom and crumb topping for my healthy fruit bars.

I hope that you enjoy them!

Gluten Free Blueberry Crumb Bars (Dairy & Egg Free)
serves 12

Crust & Crumbs:
2 cups diced banana
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 & 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum (I use Bob’s 1 to 1)
1/4 cup coconut flour

Filling:
2 & 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon corn or potato starch
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

Place 2 cups of diced banana onto a plate lined with parchment paper.  Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the blueberries into a saucepan.  Stir in the lemon juice, maple syrup, and corn starch.  Heat the blueberries over low heat being sure to stir quite often to prevent burning or sticking.  Adjust the temperature as needed.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  The liquid from the blueberries should thicken up.  Shut off the heat and allow the mixture to sit.

Place the coconut sugar, gluten free flour, coconut flour, and chilled banana chunks into a bowl.  Using your hands work all of the ingredients together until large crumbs form.  As the crumbs begin to come together, lightly mix ingredients together.  If you overwork the crumbs they will lose their crumb-like texture and become paste-like…no good!

Line an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish with enough parchment paper so that 1″ overhangs two opposing sides.

Press 1 & 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared dish.  Press firmly.

Spread the blueberry compote over the crust, spreading to the edges of the crust.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining crumbs.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top crumbs begin to brown a bit.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Optional: sift a bit of powdered sugar over the top of the bars once they have completely cooled.

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