Friday, August 20, 2010

I've Got the Blues...

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child




In the realm of berries, I am a raspberry/blackberry girl. I love them. They don't last long once I bring them home -- and they rarely make it into a recipe. (I eat most of them standing over the sink, rinsing them off.)  But, I do like blueberries, too.  Those beautiful, blue-black orbs of juicy goodness.  So delicate and plump and a mix of tart and sweet.  It's one of the better parts of living on the East Coast in summer. Fresh blueberries abound.

We were visiting my parents recently, and my mom sent us home with a bucket-load of blueberries from the backyard bushes.  I have been buying pint after pint at the market, but these home-grown ones were the best. No pesticides, no fertilizer -- picked that day.

Chris and I have been using them on cereal, over ice cream, as a topping for yogurt, etc., but we still barely made a dent in the huge bowl of them--even after sharing some with friends. So, I had to resort to drastic measures.  I had to bake something.

First, I was thinking of making a yummy cobbler or crisp, or big, fluffy muffins with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Maybe dessert bars or a pie?  So many choices!

I decided that I wanted something for breakfast that could also work as a dessert -- I'm not a breakfast person, so Chris doesn't often get to have treats like that in the morning, and it is always nice to have something on hand after dinner. So, I settled on a lovely blueberry coffee cake-type thing.  (I tweaked a blueberry muffin recipe and made it my own.)

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp of baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
Healthy pinch of kosher salt
1-2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drained

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup of milk, plus a touch more if the batter seems too dry
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1-2 drops of almond extract
1 egg

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
1 3/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/3 cup of almond flour
4 TBS of softened butter (cut into pieces)

Mix the first four dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, add the milk, vegetable oil and almond extract.  Break the egg into another small bowl, and if it looks fine, add to the other wet ingredients. Mix that gently with a fork -- don't whisk, and then add to the dry ingredients and stir everything together until you have a smooth batter.  Fold in the blueberries -- you can put in as many as you'd like -- and then using a rubber spatula, scoop the mixture into a greased baking pan.  (I used an 8x8 square pan, but you can use any smaller-sized pan.)  Gently tap the sides of the pan to settle the mixture.

Then, for the topping, mix all of the those ingredients together either with a fork or clean hands, and sprinkle over the coffee cake mixture before baking.  Bake 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees.

About 25 minutes later (also about the same amount of time I needed to clean up the huge mess I made in the kitchen), the house smelled of blueberries, almonds, and cinnamon.  I cut myself a small square once it had cooled a bit.  It  was just what I had in mind.  Fluffy, light, and bursting with sweet/tart berries.  The topping made it a real treat.







And, the best-- or actually the worst--part?  Only 1.5 cups of blueberries left!  Blueberry mojitos anyone?


xoxoxo

Blueberry on Foodista

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