These from scratch shortbread bars with blueberry peach jam are the kind of dessert you say you're only going to eat one, and end up eating the whole damn pan. A buttery shortbread recipe topped with a homemade blueberry peach jam, shortbread crumbles on top, it doesn't get any more summer dessert than that.
As August approaches I feel like the best of summer produce all comes to peak season at one time. You've got the best tomatoes, super sweet plums, the sweetest corn, the best blueberries and the ripest peaches. And I have take advantage of all of these, but especially with peaches and blueberries. If I am not making these shortbread bread bars with blueberry peach jam, I am making a peach blueberry pie that is equally delicious!
Making homemade shortbread bars from scratch couldn't be easier and can be put together with minimal ingredients:
Now onto making homemade blueberry peach jam! Summer dessert perfection! So I don't think there is anything really better than a homemade fruit jam. Making from scratch means you can control the amount of sugar, and really ensure that the flavor of the fruit shine through. Also making your own means you can control everything else that goes into the jam. I use lemon rind for a little bit of natural pectin to thicken it up just a touch.
- Lemon Juice
- Lemon rind
This homemade blueberry peach jam is something you should make whether you're making these shortbread bars or not - it is good on everything. Including but not limited to...slathered on a biscuit or piece of bread, warmed up and spooned over ice cream, or simply eaten with a spoon
What is the difference between shortbread and sugar cookies?
When looking at the actual ingredients, there really isn't much difference between shortbread and sugar cookies. But when looking at the ratio of these ingredients, there is a difference.
Shortbread has a higher butter to flour ratio than sugar cookies. This makes the dough for these shortbread bars much more tender and crumbly. And they definitely taste more buttery than sugar cookies.
Sugar cookie dough, on the other hand, has a higher fat to flour ratio. Additionally, sugar cookies are also made with eggs and some kind of leavening. They are sweeter and have a texture that is more moist than shortbread.
How do you know when shortbread is done?
Perfectly cooked shortbread bars will be lightly golden in color. For these shortbread bars with blueberry peach jam, the base will cook for a bit before spreading the jam
Tips for success
- Try to use unsalted butter for the shortbread recipe. BUT if you can't and you've got salted butter only, no worries, just cut back a bit on your salt in the shortbread recipe. Only use ¼ teaspoon instead of ½ teaspoon.
- Fresh or frozen fruit works in this blueberry peach jam recipe. I used fresh because, well peach and blueberry are still in season and still tasting delicious. But if you can't get your hands on either, use frozen, by all means.
- Adapt, adapt, adapt. This is supposed to be an ideal summer dessert, and that means using what you have that is seasonal. Don't have peaches but have cherries? Make a quick cherry compote. Have a shit ton of raspberries and blueberries, but no peaches? Make these berry crumb bars instead. I will not lie, these are FANTASTIC with a quick plum compote (which also happen to be in season). Peach blueberry just happened to be on my radar and a delish combo, but it is def not the only combo around. Use what you've got, it will still be delicious.
- Stand mixer
For the shortbread bars
- 2 sticks butter rUnsalted, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the blueberry peach jam
- ¼ cup sugar
- 8 peaches Leave the skins on, about 4 ½ cups,
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon water
- 1 rind of lemon Use a vegetable peeler to peel into strips
- Preheat oven to 350 and have a rack in the middle. Line a 13x9 baking dish with foil and butter or spray with baking spray.
To make the jam
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium/high heat, stirring every once in a while. Cook about 10-15 minutes. The blueberries will release their juices and the peaches will break down. The entire mixture should be thick and reduced when totally finished.
- Set this aside to cool off.
To make the shortbread bars
- Combine the butter, sugar, and flour for the crust in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, or a spatula, mix until well-combined and the mixture comes together. Take out ⅓ cup shortbread and set aside to crumble on top of the bars. Press the rest of the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack for about a 20 minutes.
- Pour and spread the cooled compote over the slightly cooled crust. Crumble the remaining ⅓ cup of the shortbread over the top of the filling. Continue baking for 45 minutes until set and slightly golden on top.
- Cool the bars completely before cutting and serving.