Blackberry Cornbread Buckle #SundaySupper

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

Summer is quickly slipping from my fingers and I am not okay with it.  I don’t want it to go away.  This is such a lovely time of year and I am so thankful for it.  For the walks with the flowers and the birds singing.  For the fresh fruit and vegetables.  For the fun clothes and shoes.  The bright colors, sunshine, and warmth.

And now with the Olympics, what more could I ask for?  I couldn’t.  it is just so wonderful and that’s why I’m already starting to dread what is coming.  Fall and … ew … winter.  Life just feels so different then.  It is less hopeful and harder, even if the only thing that has really changed is the season.

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

How is this possible?  I mean really.  If everything else stays the same, the difference between June and January is still immense and difficult to grasp and deal with.

I never felt this way when I was in school, and I think I finally discovered the reason.  As a student, I relished summer.  I loved every moment of it for all the reasons I do now, as well as the obvious I didn’t have to go to school thing.

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

Once fall (really the end of summer) came and I had to return to school, it didn’t matter if it was sunny or cloudy, rainy or snowy.  I just trudged into the building and out of the building and slept and ate in between.  I actually hoped for snow since it would mean a day of freedom, likely watching movies and TV.

So not only do the seasons affect how I see the world, but the world affects how I see the seasons.  Life is really quite an interesting thing sometimes.

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

Since I am buying more fruit than I could ever possibly eat, as though that will stave off winter for longer, I love to bake with it.  Cornmeal isn’t something I typically bake with, but when this Sunday Supper theme was corn, I knew exactly what I was going to make.  Blackberry Cornbread Buckle.

I have made Blueberry Buckle many different times, as it is one of my favorite recipes, but I think this one bested it.  Not only because the cornbread base is so delicious, tender yet hearty with that nutty corn flavor, but also because it rings more as a true buckle.

The cornbread rises in some spots, buckles under the fruit and crumble in others.  It is a symphony of ever changing textures and flavors, each bite a little different than the last.

Let summer take you on many more adventures, including this Buckle!

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle

Blackberry Cornbread Buckle #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

Fruit

4 cups fresh blackberries

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Cake

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup cornmeal

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

Topping

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan as well as two ramekins or bowls.

In a medium bowl, stir together the blackberries, sugar, vanilla, and ginger. Allow to macerate while you make the cake.

Make the cake. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the vanilla and salt, followed by the eggs, one at a time. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work as well.

Stir together the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir just until the batter comes together.

Spread most of the batter into the 8-inch pan, filling no more than half way. Divide the remaining batter among the ramekins. Top each of the three vessels with an even layer of the blackberries.

Make the crumb topping. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter until clumps form. Distribute the topping over the fruit in all three vessels.

Bake ramekins for about 40 minutes. Bake larger cake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until toothpicks inserted in the center of the cakes come out with a few moist crumbs.

Serve warm or allow to cool completely in the pans. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil, and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Janeofmanytrade via Food52

http://piesandplots.net/blackberry-cornbread-buckle-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Appetizer

Breakfast

Salad

Main Dish

Side Dish

Dessert

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Black and Blueberry Buckle

Black and Blueberry Buckle

It might be after Labor Day, but according to the calendar, it’s still summer. And I’m sticking with the calendar.

It’s still hot and sunny, and I’m still baking with all my favorite summer fruits. Plus, I’m not putting away my summer clothes yet. Sandals and sundresses for life!

Black and Blueberry Buckle

Even if you had to send your kids back to school or go back yourself, don’t give up on summer. Take some time to relish in what is left of it. Make time to take a walk. Or eat dinner outside. Listen to the birds singing. And stop to smell the flowers … literally.

Oh, and you’re definitely going to want to make this Black and Blueberry Buckle. I make a Blueberry Buckle every summer, if only to freeze for a reminder of summer when there’s a blizzard outside. But this year, I had the most beautiful blackberries. It’s hard to find juicy, plump blackberries, so when I did, I had to use them.

Black and Blueberry Buckle

The super moist vanilla cake matches with the cinnamon-y crumb topping. The fruit is the real star here though. The cake is overloaded with fresh blackberries and blueberries. They burst in your mouth. Some are super sweet, others a little tart. This is a cake I do and will continue to make again and again. After you try it, you will too!

Black and Blueberry Buckle

Black and Blueberry Buckle

Yield: 8 slices

Ingredients

Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

½ cup milk (I used skim – use what you love)

1 cup blackberries

4 cups blueberries

Topping

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan.

Make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work. Beat in the vanilla and egg.

Alternately add the milk and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Stir in the fruit and spread into the prepared pan.

Make the topping. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter, until combined and clumps of various sizes form. Sprinkle evenly over the cake.

Bake the cake on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 65-75 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm or cool completely in pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

http://piesandplots.net/black-and-blueberry-buckle/

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KeepSpringBubbly #CollectiveBias

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

The sun is shining, the weather is warmer, and I’m ready to do some entertaining. But, I’m not always the best planner. Sometimes I just like to have a couple friends over at a moment’s notice. Once I invite them, though, I often realize I am sooooo not prepared.

After I take a deep breath, I figure out that I’m more prepared then I first thought. I always have a freezer stocked with baked goods. Always. I mean, I’m kind of surprised people aren’t always showing up at my house wanting a cookie or piece of cake.

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

Then there’s my fully stocked refrigerator and pantry. I have tons of washed vegetables and fruit bowls that overflow with seasonal produce. There’s not a lack of candy and chips in the pantry either. The party shapes up quickly with all these fun foods.

But we still need some libations. Because what’s a party without a fantastic drink?

And I have one stellar drink for you today. A Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito made with the Original “Green Bottle” Canada Dry Ginger Ale®. I was on the hunt for Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale® at my local Walmart but they didn’t have it yet. I won’t give up the hunt, but this mojito has all those flavors.

Shopping at Walmart

It reminds me of summer with the fresh mint, blackberries, and ginger. That extra ginger really complements the Canada Dry Ginger Ale® and gives the drink an extra kick. The fizzy Canada Dry Ginger Ale® reminds me a little of being a kid and drinking it when I wasn’t feeling well or on a hot summer day to cool me down.

But then I took this drink up a notch with some rum. It’s an awesome drink without it, but the rum gives it an extra, complementary flavor and kick.

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

Another tip, use frozen blackberries in the drink instead of ice. That way the drink won’t be watered down. I actually rely on this tip a lot because I rarely have ice in the house since I don’t use it much. Weird, I know.

My parties will be extra special with these mojitos, and I’m thinking they’re a great way to celebrate just any old spring day.

See more great Canada Dry Ginger Ale® recipe ideas on the Canada Dry Ginger Ale® social hub where you can also enter to win a Canada Dry spring party pack and Walmart gift card.

I’d also love to hear if you have any fun spring inspired drink ideas for Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale® and Canada Dry Ginger Ale®! Share them in the comments.

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

Ingredients

2 sprigs mint

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

5 fresh blackberries

4-6 ounces Canada Dry Ginger Ale®

5 frozen blackberries, or a few ice cubes

1 ounce rum

Instructions

In a tall glass, place the mint, ginger, and fresh blackberries. Muddle gently with a spoon or muddler.

Add the Canada Dry Ginger Ale®. Fill so the glass is about ¾ full. Add the frozen blackberries or ice cubes. Top with the rum.

Serve immediately.

Notes

Recipe is easily multiplied to make many drinks!

http://piesandplots.net/blackberry-ginger-ale-mojito/

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

I am near-sighted.  I started having trouble seeing in fifth grade.  Most people would say this isn’t a big deal, and it’s not in the scheme of things.  But I didn’t want to wear glasses; they weren’t for me.  So for two years, I didn’t wear glasses to school.  When I was at home I wore them in increasing amounts until I became comfortable with them, but I didn’t wear them to school.  It wasn’t easy, but I managed to swing it.  After those two years, I got tired of having to go sit in front of the chalkboard to copy down notes or read the day’s assignments, so I started wearing them to school.  I’d take them off at lunch or when I didn’t need to see, but I got over it and wore them.

However, to this day, I still don’t wear my glasses in public.  Crazy, I know, but I don’t like how I look in glasses.  When I picture myself, it never involves glasses.  When I’m shopping or out to eat, I keep them in my purse for emergencies.  When I go see a play, I often put them on after the lights go down.  So if you see me at the mall and wave and I don’t wave back, it’s only because I can’t see you.

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

I can kind of see and make do quite well.  I also have prescription sunglasses I sometimes leave on when I’m grocery shopping or the like.  It’s not ‘cause I think I’m cool.  I know I’m not cool.

I have tried contact lenses before and it didn’t work out.  The discomfort and thought of touching my eye were simply too much for me to handle.  I’ve also considered Lasik, but that sounds pretty freakin’ scary.  So for now I make do with sunglasses and squinting.  Really, it’s served me pretty well so far.

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

It’s not hard to see why these Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars are delicious.  You’ll never know they are vegan with a firm, crunchy oat and coconut topping and crust, surrounding sweet blackberries.  Even though summer is over 🙁, you can probably still find them in the stores.  I also think frozen, thawed, and drained blackberries would probably work.  The filling might be a little juicer, but I think that would be a good addition.  Make these bars and see how good they are for yourself!

 Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 9 bars

Ingredients

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

¾ cup virgin coconut oil, solid

3 ½ - 4 cups blackberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.

In a medium bowl, stir together ½ cup sugar, flour, baking powder, and coconut until combined. Add coconut oil and stir until it is distributed evenly and a crumbly mixture forms. Press half of it into the pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together blackberries with remaining tablespoon sugar and lemon juice. Pour over the dough in the pan. Top with the remaining dough. Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the top is golden brown. Be sure dough is set and fully cooked on top. Cool bars completely in pan before slicing and serving. Bars may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in a 350 degrees F oven for about 15 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Yummy Mummy Kitchen

http://piesandplots.net/vegan-blackberry-coconut-bars/

Berry Coconut Cake

Berry Coconut Cake

I’m back into the swing of watching daytime talk shows during the day while I’m busy blogging, baking, and writing.  Over the summer, I replaced super boring repeats with game shows, movies, and repeats of Grey’s Anatomy, which somehow manage to never get old.  But now it’s back to Rachael Ray, The Chew, The Talk, Ellen, even Queen Latifah, and of course, The View.

Speaking of The View, it made some major changes this season.  Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck are out and Jenny McCarthy is in.  Truthfully over the last couple of seasons, my enjoyment of watching The View had been dwindling.  Everything they talked about was so depressing and each topic, whether serious or light hearted, seemed to spark an argument.  I was getting stressed out watching a daytime talk show!

Berry Coconut Cake

Berry Coconut Cake

When this season began, I figured I’d tune in for a day or two to see how Jenny McCarthy did and then make The Price is Right a permanent part of my daily routine because my life – it doesn’t need any more drama.

But then something crazy happened.  I watched the season premiere and I loved it.  It wasn’t stressful, not full of arguing and the hosts talking over each other.  It was fun, light hearted, happy.  The hosts calmly and eloquently shared their opinions and really seemed to respect each other.  I wanted to hear what they had to say.  I wanted to watch the show the next day.  I wanted to make these ladies part of my morning routine.  That sentiment hasn’t changed a couple weeks later either.  The View has never been better.  I look forward to watching it every single day and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  It’s rare that a show can successfully reinvent itself, but The View has done so and other shows should take note.

Berry Coconut Cake

Berry Coconut Cake

Something that doesn’t need to be reinvented is this Berry Coconut Cake.  It is not too sweet and is essentially a snack cake, making it perfect for breakfast, dessert, or any time in between.  The mild vanilla cake has a soft, fine crumb and gets some texture from the shredded coconut, but not much flavor.  The berries on top really shine through.  Make this cake before all the summer berries disappear!

Don’t miss my Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips giveaway!

 Berry Coconut Cake

Berry Coconut Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 12 pieces

Ingredients

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for plan

1 ¾ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for pan

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup shredded coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened)

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

¾ cup milk (I used almond, but anything, including buttermilk would work)

3 ½ cups mixed berries (I used blackberries and blueberries)

3 tablespoons bourbon or rum

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 by 13 inch pan. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 ¾ cups flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut. In a large bowl, cream butter, vanilla, and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until once again light and fluffy. Alternately add flour mixture and milk into the sugar mixture. Begin and end with the flour and do 3 installments of flour and 2 of milk. Mix until just combined. Pour into pan and spread into an even layer.

In a medium bowl, combine the berries with remaining 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and rum. Stir until berries are fully coated. Pour the berries into an even layer over the batter. Bake cake about 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs and the edges of the cake are golden brown. Cake may be served warm or allowed to cool completely in the pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

http://piesandplots.net/berry-coconut-cake/

23 on 23 – A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons

23 on 23 - A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons

They call this the Golden Birthday.  I am turning 23 on January 23rd.  Apparently it’s also referred to as the Lucky Birthday.  I was considering this the other day as I was looking in the mirror.  Really looking in the mirror, not just a quick glance to check my hair or makeup.  For the first time ever, I didn’t see a child, a dependent, my parents’ daughter.  I saw an adult, someone who finally looked roughly her age, a person in her own right.

I saw a girl who straightened and whitened her teeth and highlighted her hair to feel better about her looks even when not in glam mode.  A girl who might be a little too into makeup and looks and nail polish, but one who is finally growing into her looks.  One who thinks a little too much about exercise and eating healthy and fitness and food, but one who takes comfort in feeling healthy and knowing exercise helps her through the day.

Unfilled Macarons

But then I looked deeper.  I saw a girl who has never felt like she fits in and wonders if she ever will.  The girl rejected at school, sitting silent at lunch with a table full of people who preferred not to speak to her turned into the woman who still feels rejected, unpopular, the last choice.  One with big dreams and no tangible way to make them come true.  Hopes and dreams filling her mind most of the time, she only wishes they were reality.  One who knows she has something special in her, but doesn’t know if others will ever see it.

There’s a kind young woman who wants a friend.  A best friend.  A friend she can call in the middle of the night.  A friend to go shopping or to events with when Mom and Dad don’t want to go.  A wingman.  A partner in fun and fashionable crime.  She also wants to be swept off her feet.  Or at least taken on her very first date by a gentleman, a guy who opens doors and pulls out chairs.  To know what it feels like to be cared about by someone other than her parents.

23 on 23 - A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons

23 on 23 - A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons

The person I look at is sometimes tortured by worry.  Allowing fears, mostly over germs and getting sick, to control her life.  It sometimes stops her from going out, having fun, sometimes causes her to shut down, but she makes it through.  She tries to push it out of her mind, tell herself everything will be okay.  And in the moments she can actually accomplish this, she is filled with happiness.  Luckily, she also appreciates a really simple day at home, where TV and movies will always trump books.

This woman is so far from perfect.  She makes mistakes, says the wrong thing, so often goes against the rest of the crowd.  But she relishes in imperfection and the fact that no one is perfect.  It is how we fix mistakes and right wrongs that makes us strong, that makes us better people, that makes it okay to be imperfect.

23 on 23 - A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons

23 on 23 - A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons

She’s a dreamer, knowing what she wants and that she will achieve it . . . she’s just not sure when.  She knows she’s lucky to have parents whom she loves unconditionally and provide the same love right back to her, supporting her through thick and thin, allowing her to chase those dreams.  She is filled with passion for writing and loves sharing that with the world (or at least a very small part of it).

Hope for the future gets her through the days where uncertainty over said future brings her down.  Hope propels her through life.  Hope that tomorrow will be better.  Hope that her dreams will come true.  Hope that all it takes is one break and amazing things can happen.

23 on 23 - A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons

And then I take a deep breath, processing all the thoughts that just rolled through my head, and I see me.  Plain old me.  But I’m happy with the person I see.  The me that has grown and changed.  The me that has achieved so much.  And most importantly the me that has the potential to achieve so much more.  The Golden Birthday, here’s to hoping it leads to a golden year.  Twenty three, it’s you and me.  Let’s make some great things happen.

To celebrate, I whipped up some French macarons.  No, they are not perfect, but for my first try, they were incredibly easy to make and came out remarkably well.  Less than 20 minutes of simple prep, then some waiting time, before they go in the oven and magic happens.  The delicate pastries have an equally delicate flavor, lightly sweet with a hint of almond.  They melt in your mouth.  I filled mine with American Spoon Blackberry Spoon Fruit, but we all agreed that the macarons were almost better plain.  The main reason they weren’t all totally perfect is my weird oven.  It got completely cool leaving the door cracked as the recipe stated, so it threw off the baking times and didn’t allow them to bake and rise properly.  I will try again, trying to outsmart my oven, but until then, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday.  Thanks for reading!

23 on 23 - A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons

4.9 from 7 reviews
23 on 23 - A Golden Birthday Celebration with French Macarons
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ¼ cups, plus 1 teaspoon, confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 6 tablespoons egg whites, from about 4 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • Blackberry Spoon Fruit or preserves for filling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and almond meal until it is fully combined and there are no lumps.
  3. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue mixing on high until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  4. Sprinkle the almond mixture over the whipped egg whites and gently fold in using a rubber spatula.
  5. Using a pastry bag with a plain tip or a zipper bag with the tip cut off, pipe the macarons onto the baking sheet. (I used the zipper bag). The macarons should be about 1 inch in diameter and about 2 inches apart. Allow the macarons to sit on the sheets at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, until the top is dry to the touch with a thin skin and no longer shiny.
  6. Bake with the oven door slightly ajar for 15-20 minutes until the top is completely dry to the touch and the macarons have puffed, rotating halfway through if necessary. Cool completely on baking sheet. Once cool, very carefully peel them away from the parchment. They are very fragile. May be stored at room temperature 1 day or in the refrigerator for 2 days. I do not recommend freezing them.
  7. Fill the macarons as close to being served as possible. Place about 1 teaspoon of jam on 1 macaron and sandwich another of equal size on top.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

 

Blackberry Crumb Cake

Blackberry Crumb Cake

Somehow, though I’m not always sure how, my days are jam packed, crazy busy.  From the time I get up to somewhere between eight and nine at night, I feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  There’s email and Twitter to check on the computer and my phone, which is almost always by my side.  There are blog posts to write, and hopefully a little time to work on my other writing projects.  Reading other blog posts and leaving comments is a time consuming, yet very enjoyable part of my day.  I spend a fair deal of time exercising, which is why I can eat all of these desserts and still fit into my favorite fancy party dresses, not to mention its almost instant ability to clear my mind.

I run around the kitchen, baking, cooking, and cleaning up.  I edit photos and videos, and try to read the ever growing pile of magazines I seem to be unable to make time for.  By the magical time eight or nine at night rolls around, the dishwasher is loaded, my nails are touched up, and my tweets are sent, my eyes are bleary and ready to focus their attention on a different screen: the television.

Unbaked Cake

Unbaked Cake with Blackberries

Unbaked Cake with Topping

I love TV and all kinds of TV shows.  There are so many good ones I no longer encounter a summer drought.  But no matter how busy I am, no matter how many TV shows TiVo is begging me to watch and delete, when it comes time for Friday and Saturday nights, Mom, Dad, and I watch a movie OnDemand.  I haven’t been to the movies in probably about 8 years, and I don’t see a reason to.  They’re crowded, expensive, require me to be there at a certain time, don’t have a pause button, and sometimes the viewing experience isn’t super enjoyable due to some of the other patrons.

I love movies, though, and the three or so months a movie typically takes to make it to DVD and OnDemand fly by most of the time.  It’s one of the high points of my week when Dad asks if I’m ready to look at movies.  We look and choose one to watch with Mom in mind, who’s usually also trying to wrap up her day.  Sometimes they’re amazing.  We can’t wait to watch them again and are engrossed from beginning to end, like Moneyball.  Sometimes we aren’t quite sure what to think, though we enjoyed our viewing time, like The Hunger Games.  And sometimes we even turn off the movie, unable to so much as think about wasting another moment of our time on what fills our screen, like Bridesmaids (sorry to those of you who liked it; I will never understand that movie).

Blackberry Crumb Cake

Whether the movie was good or bad, I love my time sitting there watching, no phone in my hand, hopefully no blog stresses or book ideas scrolling through my mind.  Upon seeing the credits roll, the only thing I am thinking is I can’t wait for the next movie night to come around.

Though I don’t eat while we watch movies, no snacks are another way I keep fit, this Blackberry Crumb Cake would make an excellent movie watching snack.  The process of making the cake is very interesting, as it used a food processor.  I was a bit leery, but the result was a perfectly moist, quite light cake, leaving me wanting to use this super easy method again.  The blackberries, more picked by my wonderful Dad, as the berry farm has two harvests each year, were superb and take on an almost jam like flavor and texture.  The crumb topping stays soft through the baking process, and together the three layers and flavors are magic.  Though I was uncertain about this recipe, I fell in love with it after only a bite or two.  Hopefully I fall in love with the next movie I watch too!

Blackberry Crumb Cake

Blackberry Crumb Cake

5.0 from 1 reviews
Blackberry Crumb Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Ingredients
Topping
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed
Cake
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cubed, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • About 2 ½ cups blackberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan.
  2. Make the topping. In a food processor, place pecans, sugar, flour, and butter. Pulse until crumbly and mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour into a bowl, and wipe out the food processor, but it’s okay if there are some crumbs left.
  3. Make the cake. In the food processor, place butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse until crumbly and mixture resembles coarse meal. There should be very few large lumps. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Add the flour and stir together until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer. Place the blackberries in a single layer on top of the batter. They should be placed as close together as possible, but should remain in only one layer. Cover the entire surface of the batter. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over blackberries. It should cover them entirely.
  5. Bake 65-75 minutes (possibly longer, mine could have used a few more minutes, but I have no complaints about the cake), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, rotating halfway through if necessary (I found it wasn’t). Cool completely in pan. May be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen in pieces wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours or in a 350 degree F oven wrapped in parchment placed on foil for about 15 minutes.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Love.Life.Eat

 

 

Blackberry Thyme Muffins and Guest Post

Blackberry Thyme Muffins

You all know by now that I’m obsessed with muffins, so I was super excited to make these Blackberry Thyme Muffins.  They are from one of the best bakeries I’ve mail ordered food from: Cake Monkey Bakery in Los Angeles.  I have to order from them again soon to share some pics of their goodies with you; they were all absolutely spectacular.  They have individual layer cakes.  That’s right complete layer cakes made just for one person.  They’re so awesome, especially for someone like me who has never quite fallen for cupcakes.  And they have tons of chocolate free options for me with my crazy allergy.

These muffins are equally awesome.  They are super moist with a cakey texture.  I love the fresh blackberries throughout, along with the crumb topping, with a hint of thyme, which is not at all overpowering.  I liked them better a day or two later when they were even moister.

The best part is that this is my first guest post.  My friend over at Mess Makes Food needed some guest bloggers, so I’m thrilled to help her out and excited she’s having me.  Please go read my post on Mess Makes Food!  I think you’ll love these muffins as well as Miss Messy’s blog!

Blackberry Muffins

Peach Blackberry Pie

Peach Blackberry Pie

Sometimes things don’t work out according to plan. While this can be a good thing, more often it’s not. And if you’re a bit of a control freak like me, it’s even worse.

When small things go wrong, it’s okay. Dinner plans fall through, e-mails get bounced back, hold times when on the phone with companies are far longer than expected. These things make us angry for a few moments, cause us to lose our cool for the blink of an eye, but then life moves on and so do we because we want to, because we have to.

Dough

Filling

Then there are the big things. Traffic jams, car troubles, illness, weather events. When they come out of nowhere, and they almost always do, our lives are temporarily and sometimes even permanently changed or completely upended. They throw us off our games and total recovery is questionable at best. We spend parts of our lives hoping these things won’t happen, but they will at some point. How we deal with and recover from them is entirely up to us.

I had a few baking disasters this week, definitely small issues, but frustrating nonetheless. One, far worse than the other, involved caramel overflowing in the oven and burning on the bottom of it. At least the smoke detector didn’t go off and Mom was there to help me clean up the mess because without her I may not have dealt as well as I did.

Unbaked Pie

Baked Pie

With all of this, I needed a solid recipe so I could make a baking comeback, have some kitchen success, and a recipe to post for you all no less. I turned to my favorite pie, the pie I can’t stop talking about, the pie I know you’ve been waiting to see adapted from Bobby Flay, my favorite chef. That’s right; it’s time for the Peach Blackberry Pie.

It’s the best pie, and one of, if not the best, dessert I’ve ever made, and I happily make it over and over again. It’s also the first pie I ever made.

Peach Blackberry Pie

The crust on this Throwdown winning pie is the best and has its own page here on my blog. I barely need filling with this crust that has made me a pie crust believer. Then there’s the filling. Tons of fresh peaches (I used all yellow because that’s what I had on hand, but white, yellow, or a mix will work) and the last of my Dad-picked blackberries. There’s just a little sugar that never masks the flavor of the fruit, which is enveloped in a rich juice with spices and some alcohol, adding an amazing depth of flavor. The alcohol is optional but really improves the pie.

There are tons of amazing desserts here on the blog, but with peaches and blackberries at peak season right now, you seriously have to make this spectacular pie. Everything will go right as it is supposed to and it will make all the things that go wrong at least a little better.

Peach Blackberry Pie

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peach Blackberry Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup pure vegetable shortening, cold
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • 4-7 tablespoons cold water
  • Filling
  • 6-7 large peaches, peeled and sliced about ½ inch thick
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons peach or apricot brandy (any brandy you like would really work)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons cassis
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream or milk (I used skim milk)
Instructions
  1. Make the crust. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add shortening and butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons of water and pulse to combine. Add more water as needed, until the dough comes together when pressed. It should not be overly moist. Dump the dough onto plastic, wrap it up, forming it into a disc. Refrigerate it for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine blackberries and cassis. Allow to sit and marinate while you prepare the rest of the pie. In a large bowl, combine peaches, granulated and brown sugars, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, brandy, and cornstarch. Stir until thoroughly combined and a thick juice is formed. Add the blackberries to the peaches, draining out as much of the cassis as possible.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the pie dough so it is large enough to fit your pie plate. Once rolled, place in your pie pan, pressing it in and making sure there are no holes in the dough. Roll the other half of the dough so it is large enough to cover the pie. Reserve it. Place the filling in the pan lined with half of the dough, again draining as much of the juice as possible. Add some, but not much of the reserved juices on top of the peaches. Too much liquid will result in a runny pie (though I tend not to have as much of that problem with this pie). Scatter the cold cubed butter over top of the filling.
  4. Place the top crust over the pie. Crimp the edges together, making sure the top and bottom form a tight seal. You may form a decorative pattern of your choosing. I do not remove any excess dough because it’s way too tasty. Cut several slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to be released. Brush the top with milk or cream using a brush or your fingers. The milk should be in an even coat and there should be no pools of liquid. Sprinkle the pie generously with the turbinado sugar.
  5. Place pie pan on a foil lined baking sheet as it will bake over. Bake for 80-90 minutes, until the crust is golden brown (this is why the turbinado sugar is used) and the juices are bubbling vigorously. If the crust is getting too brown, cover it with foil. Cool the pie at least 3 hours before slicing and serving. It may be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, though the crust will become a little soggy, or frozen wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. One quarter of the pie may be thawed at room temperature for several hours or placed in a 350 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes or until warmed through. The oven is the best method for thawing.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

 

Blackberry Pie Bars

Blackberry Pie Bars

I bet you’ve never had blackberries.  How is this possible?  Those clamshells at the grocery store full of hopefully dark, plump, non-moldy berries can look okay, but upon tasting them, they are flavorless and consist of more seeds than actual juicy fruit.  They’re more like cousins to blackberries.  Cousins that have been grown to be able to survive the trek from typically California to wherever you buy them, rather than grown for their flavor.

Blackberries

Enter farm fresh blackberries.  These are nothing, absolutely nothing, like their grocery store counterparts.  And if you think you don’t like blackberries, do yourself a favor and seek some of these out.  They vary in size from huge to quite tiny, but all of them are sweeter, have the best blackberry flavor you can imagine, and have fewer and less noticeable seeds.  The thing is they can be exceptionally hard to find.  I haven’t seen them at any local farmers’ markets since I’ve been shopping at them for the past few years.  They usually are in the stores for a couple weeks each July, but I never saw them this year, though I am still holding out hope for a few late season berries.  So my wonderful Dad headed to the nearest blackberry farm, about half an hour away from our house, to pick them.

It is not an easy task, I am told.  As a girl who keeps her outdoor time to a minimum, this is something I would never do, but Dad likes to be outside and doesn’t mind doing these crazy things for his “little girl,” so off he went to pick berries.  The weather was hot, though not as hot as it has been lately, and the process involves lots of walking, reaching, and being attacked by the blackberry bushes.  Yet he says it’s not that bad and he kind of likes it, which is great because I love the end result.

Unbaked Crust

They weren’t as big as I’ve seen, but they were among the best flavor wise.  So delicate, juicy, and full of flavor, they can be crushed with the softest touch, the first sign that they are nothing like what is found in the store.  The next is the burst of juice and flavor with each bite.  The final, that the seeds are almost nonexistent.

I wanted to make something fabulous with them, so I headed over to Brown Eyed Baker’s blog for a recipe; I consider her the celebrity of the baking blogger world.  I spend my days hoping she’ll notice me or even leave a comment on my blog as I hope I’ll one day run into someone like Matt Damon in town filming a movie or get a Twitter response from Alton Brown or Bobby Flay.  I found Blackberry Pie Bars, a treat that looked amazing and unlike anything I’d ever made before.  They took a little longer to assemble than I thought they would, but they did not disappoint.  Not by a long shot.

Unbaked Filling

Unbaked Bars

A wonderful tender and crumbly shortbread crust with a rich creamy custard like filling surrounded the bounty of blackberries, topped off with a little crunch from some of the reserved shortbread.  Each bite is pure joy and a different experience.  It was the perfect thing to make with the blackberries.  Even Dad, a blackberry hater, ate a whole piece, proving just how delectable these bars are.

If you’re a blackberry lover, and even if you think you’re not, seek out some great farm fresh berries to have your mind blown.  Then make these bars, and you’ll want to eat blackberries every day.

Blackberry Pie Bars

Blackberry Pie Bars

5.0 from 3 reviews
Blackberry Pie Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Ingredients
  • Shortbread
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • Filling
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (I’ve been using Daisy and loving it)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups fresh blackberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
  2. Make the crust. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and orange and lemon zest. Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers until it is distributed throughout and fragrant.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine the sugar and zest mixture, flour, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed and no bigger than the size of peas, about 15 times. The food processor bowl will be extremely full, so take caution. If you have a small processor and it does not fit, use a pastry cutter or forks to make the dough in a large bowl. After pulsing there may still be a few larger pieces of butter. Mix them in with your fingers. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the shortbread for the topping. Place it in the refrigerator until it is ready to be used. Press the remainder of the crust in the bottom of the pan. It will form a thick layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Cool while preparing the filling.
  4. Make the filling. Combine the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir until there is a homogeneous mixture. Very gently fold in the blackberries to prevent breaking as much as possible, though some is inevitable. Pour the mixture over the crust. Even out as much as possible. Distribute reserved shortbread evenly over filling.
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the edges are golden brown. It will still be very jiggly. Cool for at least 1 hour before cutting into bars. May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

 

 

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