I am always looking for affordable, time-saving shortcuts in the kitchen, and one of my favorite ways to save time is by making foods in bar form: pancake bars, chocolate chip cookie bars, and blueberry muffin bars. Sometimes the extra minutes I save by not rotating muffin tins in and out of the oven or flipping individual pancakes makes the difference between having something freshly made on the breakfast table before the school bus comes and … not.
This Blueberry Muffin Bars recipe is also a great kids can cook way to make muffins because young chefs don’t have to worry about getting equal amounts in each well of the muffin tins, or about dripping batter everywhere while measuring. Kids can do all of the mixing themselves, sprinkling extra sugar on top is a fun job, and only the youngest cooks will need help with the oven.
We add the berries at the same time we add the yogurt, then blend them in with the hand mixer, which breaks the berries up a little bit. This makes the muffin bars more palatable for children who don’t like the sensation of biting into a large berry in their baked goods. This method has converted several children I know into blueberry muffin eaters, although they didn’t care for them before. If you want to keep the berries more intact, you can gently fold them in at the end of mixing.
These Blueberry Muffin Bars are adapted from a muffin recipe in Mary Ostyn’s Family Feasts for $75 a Week cookbook, but I bet the bar idea would work with any muffin recipe that makes 18 muffins. We make them with dairy-free blueberry yogurt plus frozen blueberries, but other yogurt and berry combinations would be fun to try.
Alisa taught me that frozen wild blueberries work particularly well in baked goods, and that is what we use most often. She uses them in her Wild Blueberry Cornbread, Panera Copycat Wild Blueberry Scones, and Bakery-Style Wild Blueberry Muffins in the 2nd edition of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. And now I use them in these blueberry muffin bars, too!
Special Diet Notes: Blueberry Muffin Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, optionally vegan, and vegetarian. Sarah did test with some soy-based products (we linked to them), but you can make these soy-free with your choice of buttery spread and dairy-free yogurt or sour cream.
For gluten-free blueberry muffin bars, you can substitute your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose flour, but I recommend using eggs, not egg replacer, if possible.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread, softened
- 2 eggs OR 2 vegan egg replacers (I like Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer)
- ½ cup dairy-free blueberry or vanilla yogurt OR ½ cup dairy-free vanilla yogurt or dairy-free sour cream
- ½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (If using frozen berries, toss with 1 teaspoon flour before adding)
- ¼ cup vanilla dairy-free milk beverage (unsweetened or regular) OR ¼ cup plain dairy-free milk beverage PLUS 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Additional ¼ cup sugar for topping, if desired
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF and grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and poppy seeds (if using).
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the ¾ cup sugar and margarine using a hand mixer.
- Add the eggs or prepared egg replacer and mix to combine.
- Add the dairy-free yogurt or sour cream, fresh or frozen berries, milk, and vanilla if using. (For more intact berries, you can fold them in at the end of mixing in the next step.)
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just moistened. Do not over mix.
- Evenly spread the batter into your prepared pan.
- Sprinkle the top of the batter with the ¼ cup sugar, if desired.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges of the muffin bars are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Put the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before cutting into bars.
Optional Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk ¾ cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons blueberry dairy-free yogurt until smooth.