blueberry ginger toffee bars

Did you think I was finished with blueberry recipes? Hoho, how wrong you were. There is a strong likelihood that I will never be finished with blueberry recipes.

These Blueberry Ginger Toffee Bars consist of a ginger- and cinnamon-flaved bar cookie base, a hearty layer of fresh blueberries, and a topping of golden brown toffee, infused with a hint of ginger.

They combine everything I love (blueberries, caramelly toffee) with a few things that I feel iffy about (ginger, the word ‘bars’). A stellar combination, really.

Previously frozen juicy blueberries are flash cooked by the toffee, which is poured hot off the stovetop. After cooling, the toffee hardens somewhat – cracking in places – but remains softly chewy and easy to eat. The blueberries retain their plump freshness, while permeating sweetly into the surrounding toffee and bar cookie layers.

Ginger and blueberry are a perfect pairing. I was inspired by the blueberry ginger kombucha I’ve been making recently, which sadly may have come to a temporary end as I believe I once again killed my scobys (scobies?). In my defense, I’ve been busy.


In the past week, I have inspected a boatload of potatoes, watched an entire season of Gossip Girl, built a light box for my photographic endeavors, and shed a tear over my garden’s slow frosty death. Also, I explored an abandoned plane. I’ll talk more about that soon.

I have one remaining week as a Potato Inspector, and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest. Being outside every day has inspired me to document my sights more thoroughly in pictures. Here are a few of the shots I’ve captured within the past week.

From top: A harvested potato field littered with forgotten tubers, a dew-filled dandelion on a chilly morning, foggy tractor days, a potentially-abandoned building as seen through my sunglasses, and The Amish.

The best part of this potato job has been getting to drive on unfrequented back roads and catch glimpses of the many nearby Amish settlements. Like this corn-filled wagon that pulled out in front of me kind of crazy-like.

I have become Amish obsessed. I want to talk with them. I want to befriend them. I want to be them. …for maybe a week. I am completely serious about this. I talk about them almost every day now.

An Amish person waved at me the other week. As I was driving my sinfully-modern vee-hic-kel, I might add.

Blueberry Ginger Toffee Bars
{Recipe by myself, toffee adapted from Joy of Cooking}

For the bar cookie layer:

1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, cream butter with sugars, ginger and cinnamon. Add eggs and almond extract, and mix well. Add salt, baking soda, and flour, and mix until combined.

Grease an 8 x 8″ pan to create tall bar cookies as seen here. Alternately, use a somewhat larger pan, such as 8 x 10″. Pat mixture into pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through in the center and lightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven, and set on a cooling rack.

For the blueberry-toffee layer:

1 2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 large pinches cream of tartar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 c. heavy cream
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter
2 c. frozen blueberries

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cream of tartar, ginger and heavy cream. Bring to a boil, and cook, whisking frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in butter, and cook, whisking often, until mixture reaches the soft-crack stage on a candy thermometer (note: toffee is typically cooked to the hard-crack stage. Removing the mixture from the heat sooner allows the final product to be more chewy, and easier to enjoy in this bar cookie fashion). Remove from heat.

Pour blueberries over cooled tin of bar cookies. Immediately pour toffee on top, allowing it to thoroughly coat the blueberries. Cool (in the fridge if the desired). Cut into squares before toffee is fully hardened to prevent surface from cracking.

Keep well-wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 days.


42 thoughts on “blueberry ginger toffee bars

  1. you make potato inspecting sound deeply enriching!
    i need to try those blueberry toffee bars. i’ll call them squares, tho.

    1. I’m so grateful for the work – I have absolutely nothing to complain about!

      Squares. Yes. That is so much better. I can’t help my Midwestern roots;)

    1. I like ginger in savory dishes, but I can’t stand it candied, and generally dislike it when in desserts. I know, it’s crazy!

      But this has just the right amount for everyone:)

  2. The abandoned plane at Moosehead?!?! Coolest place ever. If that’s where you were, I can’t wait to see your photos! I watched the entire first season of Revenge last weekend…I was pretty proud of myself after that.

    Being busy is good. This recipe looks good. A photo box is also good. I made my first blueberry pie with Beech Hill blueberries the other day…SO good. Enjoy the rest of potato season!

    1. Nope, not at Moosehead. What’s the story behind that one? I’d love to get down there. I was in Greenville for one night this summer, but didn’t see anything other than the inside of a bar. Well, not quite true, I did dine alongside the lake. But I was faced towards town the entire time. Such a massive lake!

      What is Revenge? Is that the show with the girl from Everwood? I love Everwood!

      Hey yeah, blueberry pie. I still haven’t made one this year – I’m happy trying out other things, but pie is sure comforting… especially after a long and busy day:)

      I hope you’re well!

  3. Oh my.
    I can’t turn my head from this recipe. It’s absolutely awesome looking. Ugh. I want this.
    I’ve always wanted to see the Amish with my own little eyes. I thought that sounded super touristy sounding so I’ve never admitted it. But, if you live around Amish country and are all geeky about it, I suppose it’s ok to admit.
    This also intrigues me, but for some reason I haven’t watched it yet.

    Very sad for your scoby. I tried your flavor, delicious. We’ve also been enjoying raspberry ginger.

    1. Someone to talk about the Amish with!! I am so incredibly obsessed with them, Sarah. If they didn’t consider me an overly-proud sinner, I would attempt to go live with them for a short time. I want to know their handyman secrets. I want to know why they don’t use bicycles (or do they?). I want to know if any of the Amish around here are dwarves (because apparently that’s one of their many bottlenecked genetic woes).

      DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND. I’ve been laughing about that for years (Rumspringa!), but finally put it on my queue this past weekend – when I found that there were no watch instantly Amish movies on Netflix.

      I know, I’ve been so awful to my scoby. I thought it would last in the fridge longer than it did:( Raspberry ginger sounds fantastic!

  4. Mmm, more blueberry deliciousness! Again, lacking chocolate makes me skeptical, but at this point I think I can shut my hole and trust your judgement. Look at that – we are forming trust bonds!

    I didn’t realize your potato tenure was coming to an end so soon! Oh well, no more wonky potato photos I guess. Hoping to see your mystery project soon!

    PS – The subtitle for your “Emma, PI” film would *definitely* be “The Potato Job”.

    1. Please, you gots to trust me, I’m a PI. And I know when things are moderately to severely delicious.

      That was a little play on my potato inspecting – potato bruises can be slight, moderate, or severe. Really humorous, I know.

      Yeah, by temp work, they meant really temp temp work. Oh well, four weeks of wages means a lot to me right now, so I appreciate it! I will miss taking photos of wonky potatoes, though:)

  5. Chewy toffee, delicious! Ginger hints, yum (although that may be my cold addled brain talking). Tractor photo, gorgeous! Frosty garden, sad … did the purple carrots survive? Amish for a week, would be a good life experience I think but I’m not sure if I’d handle much longer than that. As always, you’re awesome!

    1. The purple carrots haven’t been harvested yet, still:) I have promised you I will post a picture of them (twice!), so I definitely won’t let you down. My turnips, parsnips and carrots are all still in the ground. And despite the heavy frosts we’ve had, the Swiss chard is still putting out new growth – I noticed that today, and it made me smile.

      Yep, I would cap my Amish life at a week for sure. I’m just so darned curious!

      Mmm, tractor photo. I can’t stop taking landscape photos, every day now:)

  6. Emma, good luck with your last week of potato inspecting. And I think I’d be obsessed with the Amish too. So fascinating right?
    Have I told you how jealous I am of all the blueberries you Easterners have;)

    1. Thank Erin – it’s been a bit anticlimactic since we’ve had a few days of rain… hopefully I can get out there today.

      The Amish are so darn fascinating – I really can’t get enough. It is nice having all of these blueberries, but I’d be happy to trade them for a little of the bounty out your way;)

  7. Yay for using the term “bars”! We’ll make you an Australian yet. Of course, we’ll have to cure you of that nasty Gossip Girl disease first. More Dance Academy!!

    1. Bars is the ultimate in Midwestern speak too, hence why I don’t enjoy saying it (it betrays my accent). “Oooooh, barrrrrrrrs!” A little like that.

      I AM SO EXCITED FOR MORE DANCE ACADEMY!!! I am fairly screaming that statement, I love love love it! Can’t wait for more:)

  8. your sunglasses make abandoned buildings look EVEN COOLER than normal. if that’s even possible, which apparently it is.
    blueberry + ginger: yum. it’s like the most forgotten lovely flavor combination ever. I wonder why most people (including myself) go ginger for pears and pumpkin but forget that it’s so good with blueberries? hmmm. thanks for the reminder.
    i like the way you did this, with the hot toffee cooking the blueberries. you literally dropped science on those berries.

    1. Abandoned buildings just cooled it up a notch. KA-POW!

      I do a lot of sitting around and thinking about flavor pairings (okay, just cooled it back down a notch), and I’ve been thinking of a lot of things recently that sound good, but that I don’t really see online or in the wide world of cookbookery. One such pairing coming up next!

      The science has been dropped. In the words of my favorite trio, it was “The Souuuuuuuunds of Sciiiiiiience.”

    1. Oooh, bars! I said it. Really, I just typed it, but it was bad enough because I had to hear it running around inside my head. Bars bars bars barsbarsbars.

      Hoooooo yaaaaaaaaa!

      1. Also, there are a couple of Amish character movies(maybe you have already seen them: “Witness” and “Kingpin”….

  9. Well, I for one am not tired of your stream of blueberry recipes yet, and this looks super – chewy, juicy, sweet. The Amish lifestyle is quite intriguing, isn’t it? Enjoy your remaining week as a potato inspector! :)

    1. So glad you’re not sick of blueberry recipes yet! The combination of chewy and juicy was why I loved these so much:)

      I’m at the end of my potato journey, sadly. Oh well, it was a terrific ride! Now I’ll have more time to focus on those Amish…

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