Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blueberry-Poppy Seed Squares
are so good, people will buy them!

Earlier this week, my husband took some of the Blueberry-Poppy Seed Squares (click for the recipe) I baked to work. When he came home after work that day, I asked how they went over with his co-workers.
   “I sold ’em,” he said with a laugh.
   It was for a good cause, as he was raising money for a major cancer prevention event he is participating in, but I didn’t know in advance he was going to sell the squares.
   I was glad he was able to raise a few bucks for his cause, and it showed that the poppy seed squares were as good as I thought – people were willing to pay for them!
   These squares really are very delicious. There is a shortbread bottom, a poppy seed-cream middle, and a terrific blueberry topping that’s a lot like jam.
   The recipe was quite easy to make, too, but I did have to tweak a couple of things.
   First, the recipe calls for ground poppy seeds, which I couldn’t find – I could only find whole poppy seeds. Because poppy seeds are already so tiny, they are difficult to grind at home – I tried!
   I substituted whole poppy seeds for ground. The recipe called for 1 ½ cups ground poppy seeds, and I used ¾ cup whole poppy seeds instead. It worked perfectly.
   Second, the recipe says to cook the blueberries until they burst, about 20 minutes. I found this only took about 10 minutes.
   The bottom layer of the squares is made by beating unsalted butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy (I used an electric hand mixer). Flour and salt are added and combined, and the resulting dough is pressed into the bottom of a greased and floured 9” x 13” metal baking pan. The dough won’t be in a ball when it is mixed; it will be in large crumbs. Simply dump them into the pan and press.
   After baking, the crust is left to cool.
   Blueberries, lemon juice and ground cinnamon are cooked over medium-high heat until the berries burst. The mixture is removed from the heat and left to cool.
   Poppy seeds and heavy cream (I used whipping cream) are mixed together and spread evenly over the cooled crust.
   The blueberry mixture is poured over the poppy seed layer and sprinkled with a streusel mixture of butter, flour, salt, sugar and vanilla.
   After a 40-minute baking time and cooling, the squares are cut and served. They will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge.

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