Buttery lemon shortbread bars filled with tart fresh blueberry jam. These are delicious you guys. They honestly surprised me by how good they are. This was another recipe born from my 3 year old asking for something at the store and then refusing to eat it — in this case, blueberries.
The lemon shortbread cookie crust is tart and super buttery soft. And shortbread whips up super quick with minimal ingredients – that I can all but guarantee you already have in your pantry. And the blueberry jam – so much easier than you may think. If blueberries aren’t your thing – really any berry will work. I might just strain the whole thing with a fine mesh sieve if you go with raspberries or something really seedy. Alright, let’s do it.
How to Make Lemon Blueberry Shortbread Bars
Make the Blueberry Jam
In a small or medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 C of the blueberries, sugar, and the zest and juice of one lemon. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After a couple of minutes, the blueberries will start to burst and a sauce will begin to form. Continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes. Once most of the blueberries have burst, stir in a cornstarch slurry. Make the cornstarch slurry by stirring together 2 tsp of cornstarch and 3 tsp of water until smooth. Then pour that into the blueberry mixture and stir.
Bring the blueberry mixture up to a low boil and stir constantly for about 1 minute. The cornstarch slurry will cause the blueberry jam to thicken. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Take off the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 C fresh blueberries. Allow to cool completely. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools.
Make the Shortbread Cookie Crust
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9X9 baking dish with parchment paper. I like to leave an overhang so that the bars can easily be lifted out of the pan once they’ve cooled. I also sprayed the pan with a little nonstick spray because the blueberry jam will try to stick to the pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer) beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for three minutes. Beating the butter sugar mixture for at least three minutes allows air to incorporate and helps to achieve that tender chewy texture – so don’t skip it!
The lemon flavor in this shortbread comes from this Lemon Extract Paste from Taylor and College. I love the concentrated lemon flavor it provides and the squeeze tube makes it easy peasy – always a winner for me. I also used their Vanilla Bean Paste in this recipe – but regular vanilla extract is fine too! (not an ad — just a fan!)
Add in the lemon extract paste, vanilla, and lemon zest. Mix to combine. Add in the flour and salt, mix to combine. It will seem crumbly and like you added too much flour, but just continue to mix. In about a minute, the dough will come together and start to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and kind of stick to the paddle. That’s how you know it’s ready.
Press about 2/3 of the shortbread crust into an even layer in the prepared baking pan. I like to use my fingers to get it pretty evenly spread out, then press it down with the bottom of a drinking glass. Pour the blueberry jam on top of the crust and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula.
Top with the remaining 1/3 of the shortbread crust. Take small pieces of the dough and press it into flat discs between your fingers, then place them randomly all over the top. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. You will know they’re done when the blueberry jam starts to bubble up around the sides and the shortbread starts to become golden brown. Allow to cool completely, then slice and serve.
To get perfect squares, I cut the entire thing down the middle then turn it 90 degrees and cut down the middle again, so that you have 4 large squares. Then do the same thing to those 4 squares. Also, wipe your knife between each slice to get those clean edges.
These lemon blueberry shortbread bars will keep about a week in the fridge, or a couple days on the counter. I like to keep them in the fridge and eat them cold!Print
Buttery lemon shortbread cookie crust filled with fresh tart blueberry jam.
For the Fresh Blueberry Jam
- 2 C (225g) Fresh Blueberries, divided
- Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1/4 C (60g) Granulated Sugar
- 2 tsp Cornstarch + 3 tsp Water
For the Lemon Shortbread Crust
- 1 C (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 C (50g) Light Brown Sugar
- 3/4 C (175g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1 tsp Lemon Extract Paste
- 2 tsp Lemon Zest
- 2 C (265g) All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
For the Fresh Blueberry Jam
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 C of the fresh blueberries, the sugar, and the lemon juice and zest.
- Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until most of the blueberries have burst and have formed a sauce.
- Stir in a cornstarch slurry (2 tsp cornstarch 3 tsp water) and bring to a low boil for 1 minute or until jam has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Fold in the remaining 1/2 C fresh blueberries.
- Allow to cool completely. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools.
For the Lemon Shortbread Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9X9 pan with parchment and a light spray of nonstick.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars for 3 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla, lemon extract paste, and lemon zest. Mix to combine.
- Add in the flour and salt. Mix until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl – about 1-2 minutes.
- Press 2/3 of the dough into an even layer into the prepared baking pan.
- Pour the cooled blueberry jam over the crust and spread out evenly using an offset spatula.
- Top with remaining shortbread crust. Use your fingers to press pieces of the crust into flat discs and place randomly over the top.
- Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, until blueberry jam starts to bubble around the edges and shortbread is lightly golden brown.
- Top with extra lemon zest optional.
- Let cool completely, then slice and serve.
*Bars will keep in the fridge for up to a week and on the counter for a couple of days. I like to keep them in the fridge and eat them cold!
*If you don’t have access to lemon extract paste, regular lemon extract will work too! Or you could use 2 tsp of fresh lemon juice!
Keywords: shortbread cookie bars, blueberry bars, lemon blueberry desserts
What did you guys think of this recipe? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear! Also, if you loved these Lemon Blueberry Shortbread Bars, be sure to check out these Roasted Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies too!