like the tinkling of wind chimes,
sing sweet random songs of
and cotton fields
and timeless pine forests~
and crows cawing
and sweaty summer days~
endless sky and endless earth with joy in between,
lilting voices calling “red rover, red rover, send Eddie right over…”
first friends and best friends and life long loves,
the breadth of self becomes a symphony.
I am not sentimental about Valentine’s Day, but this year as I prepared blackberry lemon bars for the first time, I started remembering my childhood and the times I spent with my cousins on my grandparent’s farm. We spent many hours outside running and playing in the fields and pine forests on their property. We knew where to find the wild blackberries and our fingers would be stained purple from plucking the tender berries off of the vines.
We never gathered blackberries for desserts, we just gobbled them up as we played. It was a perfect life for us during those times of freedom; I wish that every child could have innocent, care-free days like that.
These blackberry lemon bars are sweet and tart with a beautiful blending of blackberry and lemon flavors. The tender, buttery crust is the perfect foil and I like for my last bite to be mostly crust. You don’t have to cut the bars into heart shapes, of course; they are best served cut into squares.
Blackberry Lemon Bars
Recipe from 1001 Ways to Cook Southern, a Southern Living Magazine cookbook
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Garnish: fresh mint and blackberries
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of a 13- x 9-inch pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.
- Pulse 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 1 cup butter in a food processor 5 to 6 times or until mixture is crumbly. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.
- Bake at 350° on an oven rack one-third up from bottom of oven 25 minutes or just until golden brown.
- Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Combine baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/4 cup flour; whisk into egg mixture until blended. Pour lemon mixture into prepared crust.
- Pulse 2 cups blackberries and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a food processor 3 to 4 times or until blended.
- Transfer mixture to a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
- Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, gently pressing blackberry mixture with back of a spoon; discard solids.
- Drizzle over lemon mixture in pan.
- Bake at 350° on middle oven rack 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is set.
- Let cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Lift from pan onto wire rack, using foil sides as handles, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool. Remove foil, and cut into 24 (2-inch) squares; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish, if desired.